The subtle trick Showtime's "Penny Dreadful is that it is far less about the blood, gore and the specter of gruesome death than the sharp pain and exhilarating pleasure of living, and the terror of feeling alone even in close company. Read our review in the May Picks section.
I am usually up for a good retelling of any story, but this one is so off the mark I had to force myself to finish it. The Nutcracker is a classic, and one of the few holiday traditions whose story you can count on to remain basically unchanged, save for some choreography differences. Imagine my surprise when watching this.
The setting is an orphanage. You have no idea who half of the characters are. It's hard to enjoy the dancing when you're spending your energy trying to figure out what is happening and who everyone is. You don't even know which of the orphans is Clara until most of the way through the first act. The worst are the sexual innuendos that have no business being associated with such wonderful music.
I believe the choreographer thought it would end up being funny, but instead it's distressing, disturbing, and not enjoyable to one who was raised on the classic version. Then again, this is modern dance, not classical ballet. So what can you expect?
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