Saturday, November 26, 2011

Nutcracker is in The House (Review & Photo Filled Recap)

Even intermission was entertaining at The House Theatre's Nutcracker

We had the great pleasure of checkin' out opening night of The House Theatre's unique version of the holiday classic, The Nutcracker.   ChiIL Mama highly recommends this production as a great, family friendly experience.   Check out our past coverage here for a video and show description.

I've seen a number of versions of The Nutcracker over the years, ranging from the classic ballet in ornate symphony centers, complete with chandeliers, to the free and fabulous, DIY Dance Along Nutcracker at The Cultural Center.   However, this is undoubtedly my favorite.   This funky, edgy, urban update is entirely welcome in a season of saccharine sweet holiday productions.

The plot is darker than the original, with the death of Clara's older brother, who was a Marine, and her subsequent haunting.   And the rat king scene is intense, with giant multi headed rat puppets and three of the set walls cracking open.    Even Sagezilla, who is a pretty fearless 8 year old, closed her eyes and clung tightly to me.   Even my 10 year old son was a bit creeped out, but did watch the whole scene.   After the show, though, both kids were very enthusiastic about the production and both said they loved it.   

     production photo

In defense of the rats, I've also seen children freak out about the more traditional versions of the rat king's appearance....and even more benign characters like the sugarplum fairies.   But parents with sensitive kids might want to check it out in advance.   There were plenty of small children in the audience who enjoyed the show and did just fine with the darker bits.   The cast shared cookies with front row kids, friendly toys spring to life, and the music is upbeat and fun.

     production photo

Purists, should know there is no ballet in this version, and all the old, familiar songs are gone.   But the new songs are wonderfully creative, and the depth and emotion of this multifaceted production makes it a compelling and completely unique take on this classic holiday tale.   You'll even get to take home a paper ornament for your tree....a globe, a bell, or maybe even a RAT, if you're lucky.

production photo

The Nutcracker Plays
November 03-December 30

“One of my favorite holiday shows” – Chicago Tribune


Buy Tickets Now
3 new Matinee performances just added!
Tickets to The Nutcracker are moving so fast, we had to add more shows!
  Now you and your family can join us on the following new dates:
  Saturday, 11/26 @ 3:00 pm 
Saturday, 12/10 @ 3:00 pm 
Saturday, 12/11 @ 3:00 pm.

"With toys come to life, ukulele solos and fake snow galore, this is a children’s show on many levels, but the layers of the story go deep and the pain of loss and overcoming familial grief provide plenty of fodder for adult audiences." 
--New City News

"Pure Emotional Magic" 
--Chicago Theater Beat photo credit

Book your tickets before they're sold out for the season!

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