Before the house lights dimmed at the Southern Theater, where the Zenon Dance Company are presenting their holiday children’s production The Nutcracker According to Mother Goose, I swiveled in my seat to see who was in attendance. I couldn’t help but smile as I took in the audience of children, parents, and elderly couples populating the theater. It was the first time in years that I attended a children’s show, and I had forgotten the expectant faces and unselfconscious enthusiasm young children bring to theater.
The production opens with an introduction by Mother Goose (Linda Z. Andrews, founder and artistic director of Zenon), who tells us about the last Christmas when she gave her story characters magical dancing slippers. For the show, Mother Goose narrates nine of her stories and then the company of dancers tell the stories through dance to the music of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. The show is choreographed by Seán Curran and features eight of Zenon’s company members.
|the nutcracker according to mother goose, presented through december 19 at the southern theater. for tickets ($18 adults, $12 children) and information, see southerntheater.org.|
The classic orchestral score takes on a new playful atmosphere by being paired with the Mother Goose tales. This playful atmosphere is further enhanced company member Mary Ann Bradley, who sparkles with enthusiasm from her face to the tips of her magical dancing slippers. She is especially charming as a one of Little Bo Peep’s sheep and Mary’s little lamb, playing the characters with simple, exaggerated expressions and body language. The children in the audience, and some adults too, giggled with pleasure as Little Bo Peep hunted for her lost sheep, who were right behind her. Another company member, Bryan Godbout, dazzles the kids with his leaps and tumbling for the stories of the Mulberry Bush, Nimble Jack, and Tom the Piper’s Son.
With a running time of only 45 minutes, even the most antsy children will be able to sit through the show. It’s impossible to resist smiling at the antics of the dancers and their silly characters. The dancing will please children who love dance and woo those who have never seen a dance show. Youngsters who leave the show with a newfound love for dance are pointed in the direction of Zenon Dance, where there are classes for children of all ages and adults. A brochure is included in the program. Parents will delight in the good, clean fun that’s truly appropriate for all ages.
|This production is featured in the Daily Planet’s complete guide to holiday theater. Throughout the holiday season, the guide will be updated with links to new Daily Planet reviews—so you’ll know who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.|