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Not your usual 'Nutcracker'

September 14, 2003|Lewis Segal

The witty, provocative Matthew Bourne will bring another of his radical revisions of a ballet classic to local stages at Christmas 2004, when his New Adventures company has been booked to perform his highly unusual "Nutcracker!" at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

Never seen in the U.S., this version of the Tchaikovsky perennial is also scheduled to be danced in Berkeley and possibly St. Louis. OCPAC officials confirmed the engagement but said that dates are being negotiated. Discussions are also continuing with Center Theatre Group, which has previously presented Bourne's "Swan Lake," "Cinderella" and "The Car Man" at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.

Created in 1992, with Martin Duncan credited as co-director, "Nutcracker!" is set in a Dickensian orphanage where rich officials take on the menacing roles that go to giant rats in traditional versions. Audiences who saw Bourne's "Swan Lake" or "Car Man" will not be surprised at the sexual ambiguity of the title character. According to dance critic Donald Hutera, he "comes on like Frankenstein only later to reveal himself as either a gay pinup, hetero-hunk or both."

-- Lewis Segal

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