Thursday, December 02, 2004

Another Nut in Berkeley

The Brit director and choreographer Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker! at Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall is pure candy coated fun as a holiday show. But specially for those of us who are regularly spoiled by the caliber of dance programs offered at Cal Performances, this production's impact fizzles in comparison to Mark Morris' now classic Hard Nut. Given Mr. Bourne's previous high-profile outings -- his homoerotic version of Swan Lake, his homoerotic version of Carmen ("Car-Man") , his homoerotic... etc. -- this is a production that seems to promise more good old depravity and bite than it ultimately delivers.

So I felt a little cheated. Bourne's Nutcracker! feels like a two-hour long Old Navy TV commercial, and as such, the show provides wholesome yuletide entertainment for kids and more than a few chuckles for the adults. This Nut screams in desperate need of a live orchestra to elevate its stature, as the dancing is of pretty high caliber overall.

Nutcracker! plays in Berkeley through this weekend, before heading to LA and Orange County. Check out Matthew Bourne's site for more info.

© 2004 C. Chang

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