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Company XIV’s 'Snow White' is Pure Sensual Fun

by Bonnie Rosenstock
February 3, 2016
Minetta Lane Theatre
18 Minetta Lane
New York, NY 10014
800-982-2787
The Brothers Grimm’s beloved fairy tale, “Snow White,” has undergone many revisions and versions since it was first published in 1812. But from its inception, it was dark and dangerous—originally, the evildoer was Snow White’s birth mother, which they later altered to villainous, vain stepmother so as not to offend motherhood. The final Grimm version we know today dates from 1854. With assistance from the iconic 1937 Disney animated movie, the Seven Dwarfs received their well-known names, and the hunter is commanded to bring Snow White’s heart as proof of her death. Disney must have figured out that a pure heart would appeal more than the German Brothers preferred lungs and liver, which was considered good eating when I was growing up.

Now dark and dangerous is no longer just for kids. Add sensual and sexy and you get Company XIV’s world premiere of an adults-only “Snow White,” which melds circus, opera, dance, theater, music, puppetry, spoken text, high fashion, high heels, hijinks, multi-media projections, multi-languages and sumptuous set design. And at times not so much clothing.

The ten-member ensemble is easily the hardest-working cast that I’ve come across in recent memory. In addition to their amazing dance chops, in the Company’s signature Louis XIV heels, they are multi-talented. Lea Halle (Showgirl) is also the puppeteer, sings in her native German and does a riveting lyra (aerial hoop) duet with Marcy Richardson (Showgirl), who also works the pole and sings classical songs in German in her virtuoso voice. Nicholas Katen is a powerful trapeze and straps artist par excellence. Courtney Giannone (The Prince) is an accomplished classical pianist and dazzles with her spectacular cyr wheel routine. She stood inside this enormous metal wheel, grasping its rim, which causes it to rotate and spin, while performing acrobatic moves in and around its gyrations.

The peerless Laura Careless plays the jealous Queen to perfection, as does the beleaguered Hilly Bodin as Snow White. The Queen’s four bare-chested menservants, Katen, Malik Shabazz Kitchen (who also sings), Mark Osmundsen and Davon Rainey, are long-torsoed, svelte and simply amazing, especially in black mesh stockings and blond wigs that look like bouncy Portobello mushrooms.

Taking its cues from the Brothers Grimm (hence all the German music, song and character names: Schneewittchen for Snow White, Die Königin for the Queen, etc.), Company XIV’s founder, choreographer and artistic director Austin McCormick fleshed out parts of the tale that were admittedly unfamiliar to me in this lively, bold production. When the Queen discovers that Snow White is still alive, she ventures into the woods, where Snow White is living with the Dwarfs. Disguised as a peddler, she offers her a corset, which provides seven of the dancers a great dance op with extravagantly dressed headless mannequins. When that doesn’t kill her, the Queen returns as a comb seller and brushes poison into her hair. Finally, that glittering poison apple does the trick.

While Snow White lies in state, the set is being sheathed in simple plastic wrap, like a giant cocoon. As the Prince arrives to do his puckering, the rock standard, “Lucky Lips,” complete with oversized red lips fitted on the performers, creates a rousing hand-clapping finale. Be enchanted.

Snow White runs Off-Broadway from January 26 – March 12, 2016 in a limited 7-week engagement at the Minetta Lane Theatre, 18 Minetta Lane between MacDougal Street and Sixth Avenue. Performances are Tuesday to Saturday at 8pm, and Sunday at 5pm. Tickets, $40 to $65, with premium and VIP seating from $75 to $105. Visit http://www.ticketmaster.com or call 1-800-745-3000. “$30 Under 30!” $30 rush tickets are available at the box office beginning two hours prior to curtain for patrons under the age of 30. Limit one ticket per ID. Check website for latest updates and show times. Running time is approximately two hours including one intermission. The show contains partial nudity – 16 & over admitted. For more info, visit http://CompanyXIV.com
Hilly Bodin as Snow White and Courtney Giannone as The Prince

Hilly Bodin as Snow White and Courtney Giannone as The Prince

Photo © & courtesy of Mark Shelby Perry


Laura Careless as The Queen

Laura Careless as The Queen

Photo © & courtesy of Mark Shelby Perry


Hilly Bodin as Snow White (center), Laura Careless as The Queen (second from right) and the cast of Company XIV’s Snow White

Hilly Bodin as Snow White (center), Laura Careless as The Queen (second from right) and the cast of Company XIV’s Snow White

Photo © & courtesy of Mark Shelby Perry


Hilly Bodin as Snow White (seated) and Courtney Giannone as The Prince (standing)

Hilly Bodin as Snow White (seated) and Courtney Giannone as The Prince (standing)

Photo © & courtesy of Mark Shelby Perry


Lea Helle

Lea Helle

Photo © & courtesy of Mark Shelby Perry


Marcy Richardson

Marcy Richardson

Photo © & courtesy of Mark Shelby Perry

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