Review: The Slutcracker

by Jess Bean on December 7, 2010

I’ve wanted to see the Slutcracker holiday burlesque show since it debuted in 2008, but I’ve been too broke to afford the ticket. This year, I’m still broke, but I could no longer resist the siren song of sluts onstage at the Somerville Theatre. The performance on Saturday left me feeling absolutely in love with life, Somerville and girls who wear leather bondage gear and toe shoes at the same time.

A few notes of caution:

  1. Leave the children at home in the sock drawer.
  2. You may be wondering if it’s appropriate for audience members to dress like sluts. Unfortunately, this isn’t “Rocky Horror.” Stick to your flannel and scarves.
  3. Buy your tickets early. Previous runs have been successesful enough that the Slutcracker team will be putting on more shows this year, with two different casts. Saturday’s performance was the first sell-out of the season. Sluts are like stadiums: if they take off their pajamas and dance around in pasties, progressive-minded adults will come.
  4. Don’t think you can stroll in five minutes before showtime and get a good seat. We arrived 45 minutes early and the theater was already half-full. Obviously, being close to the action is important.

Show creator, director, choreographer and dancer Vanessa White, who performs as Sugar Dish, trained formally in ballet before finding her true calling in burlesque. She creates a magical mash-up of the two genres as tattooed male and female dancers strip down to pasties and thongs to the tune of Tchaikovsky.

Classically tall, dark and handsome, Paolo Mania brings to life Fritz, the khaki-and-sweater-wearing straight man who proposes marriage to Clara, only to be spurned for the vibrator that Drosselmyer gives to Clara. Clara was played by Femme Bones, a red-headed ballerina with more fun to her than the Femme Show’s Maggie Cee. Femme Bones pulls out all the stops in her thrilling portrayal of the excitable ingenue Clara. With every exaggerated blink of her eyes and “oh!” of her Clara Bow mouth, with every giddy plie and two-foot-high prance, Clara oozed enticing innocence. This made her hedonistic ravishing even more enjoyable.

The vast amount of exposition and a paucity of nakedness makes the first scene of the Christmas party drag a little. However, as soon as Drosselmyer uses the vibrator to summon an eight-foot-tall…no, not a Christmas tree… a GIANT PEPPERMINT DILDO, the show becomes its freaky self. The square party-goers challenge the dildo’s buddies — the batteries — to a “West-Side-Story” -esque dance fight. The vibe transforms into the Slutcracker princess, played by Pamela Passion, who does a hilarious imitation of a Rabbit-brand sex toy (complete with rotating head and nubs!).

Clara and the Slutcracker fall madly in lust. Both actresses displayed impressive ballet technique. The rest of the burlesque follows Slutcracker and Clara as they enthusiastically get it on or are prevented from getting it on by parades of slutty fairies invading their magic bedroom.

In Act II the action never ceases. A talented tangoing threesome was followed by novice belly dancers, a pole-dancing man and a troupe of hula-hoopers. Just when you think watching all these hotties dance around is the greatest thing ever, they take off their tops to reveal glittery pasties! TA DA!

In short, the Slutcracker makes good use of t&a and racially-insensitive fetish gear. Perhaps you’ve never thought of cheongsams as foxy before. Classically elegant, yes, but raunchy? The image of the Chinese Tea Dance performed by six ladies wearing cut-out cheongsam tops with breasts hanging out and matching booty shorts on bottom will never leave your mind.

In Polichinelle, performers dressed in furry white outfits and nose phalluses simulated boot-licking, fisting and a nose-masturbation. The choreographer worked in plenty of naughty allusions, such as when the Arabian dancers used their scarves to engage in erotic breath play. Don’t try this at home, kids! Vanessa White proved her ballet chops in her climactic solo Dance of the Sugar Dish Fairy. While dressed in a vinyl skirt and petticoat.

One of the night’s irresistible dyads was composed of The Wet Spot Fairy, a sassy voluptuary with a curly-pink wig, and her subordinate fairy, played by a man with great legs. Between her old-school pasty-tassel-twirling and his strutting, they had this thing on lock.

That was the highlight of the show: the bodies adipose and taut, the gender energies aggressive and silly, the hula-hooping and the pole dancing and the ballet, all together. In a world where porn can be as specific as you require, the joyously pansexual Slutcracker proved that eating from all the five food groups of sexiness can be good for you. As the director wrote in the notes: “Dear cast, I want to have sex with all of you. At the same time.” I felt the same way.

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