303 Bond Street, Brooklyn is the place to go to relive your youth, to have the fairy tales that you grew up with envisioned in a totally new way by visionary choreographer and director Austin McCormick and his Company XIV – with their extraordinary, inventive and imaginative production of Le Cirque Feerique (The Fairy Circus). And bring the kids. Bring everyone.
It’s fractured fairy-tales meets Tim Burton meets Baroque Opera Trio meets Lady Gaga meets Bizet meets flamenco meets Swan Lake meets Vivaldi meets Princes and Princesses played interchangeably by men and women. All conceived by Mr. McCormick and Zane Pihlstrom who is responsible for the zany, bizarre, and purely over the top theatrical costumes and circus like set. Props and pieces of costumes are in full view in order to get everyone involved in this most original production.
Jeff Takacs is the writer, adapter and most wondrous gruff Pirate narrator of these most famous tales. With eyes that twinkle with mischief and evil glee he will simply enthrall and amaze you with his impromptu friendly banter between scenes. He also sings, plays harmonica, keeps things rolling along with great humor and instructs.
But it is the incredibly resourceful and artistic choreography of Mr. McCormick (who also is part of the ensemble company of six gifted dancers and mimes) that consistently amazes in the telling of The Frog Prince, The Princess and the Pea, Red Riding Hood, The Ugly Duckling, Ferdinand the Bull, Cinderella and The King’s New Clothes. Never mind that they have fiddled with the original stories. Never mind that men dance on the tips of their toes. It’s a great way to introduce children to music, dance and plain old theatricality and the all embracing open mindedness of thinking outside the traditional fairy tale box.
This box is full of surprises. You will marvel at the pig and cow masks of Cinderella’s step-mother and evil sisters and happily cringe when they are beheaded. Just a teaser of what to expect.
There are three women, the Baroque Opera Trio – Charities (Brooke Bryant, Amber Youell, Brett Umlauf) perched above and on the side with a grand piano dangling who are marvelous. Bedecked in red gowns, white wigs and black top hats they sing gloriously to the pre-recorded sound track that is terrifically eclectic.
Fairy tales were never like this before. Thank goodness for Austin McCormick and Company XIV – Laura Careless, Yeva Glover, Davon Rainey, Gioia Marchese and Marisol Cabrera. Through June 6th. www.companyxiv.com
Photo: Christina Ramirez