W who knew there was a Victorian village in the rear of the New Vic? Where you thought there was only a parking lot and a 1980s building, now there are display cases filled with old books, caged birds, and jars of candy. Someone has built children's toys in a workshop and the cakes have not yet been consumed in the living roomSome tea. Above are rows of fairy lights and colorful streamers. Butterflies from the partitions land on the plants.
It would be an idyllic box of chocolate if there hadn't been one thing . The more you look at the junk, the more eyeballs you spot. Counting them is fun, but also sinister.
This contradiction between the delicious and the disturbing sums up this superb promenade adaptation of Theresa Heskins. At any time, you could be on a joyous adventure or down a morally questionable path. The exemplary design of Lis Evans, with her cute Slavic costumes and spooky hanging limbs, only adds to the ambiguity.
Drawing on the original stories by ETA Hoffmann and the famous ballet,Heskins tells the story of Dr. Coppelius and his amazingly realistic puppet daughter. Our entry point is Corinna Brown's Swanhilde who, armed with curiosity where money is scarce, helps us commit a daring raid on the main theater to find out more about the ultra-realistic doll.
Bouncing with excitement on her toes, she seduces us with her high-pitched laughter and her joie de vivre. She also gives us permission to think that Michael Hugo's Coppelius is a bit of a nutcase. We need it because there is something special about it. Who else would drink and dine with a mechanical doll - even one like mesmerisi ng like Kira McPherson? He tests Coppelia as if he expected her to come to life. It doesn't seem unreasonable to play a prank on a man like that.
After leading us into temptation, Heskins takes us out of the dream theater and nou immerse yourself in the daylight. We have been complicit in Swanhilde 's rowdy behavior and doubts set in. Didn't Coppelius have his reasons? Was Swanhilde too destructive? Is there a way to redeem yourself?
There is of course, and, in 2021, what better way to end than with a phor of rebirth, reconciliation and renewal?