The “Slutcracker: a burlesque,” is a dirty, fun, antidote to the inescapable force-feeding of holiday schmaltz we’re in for from Black Friday through Boxing Day—guaranteed to plaster a smirk across your face. Call it an Alt-Christmas pageant; This scene-by-scene parody of “The Nutcracker” performed by exotic dancers of every stripe (and every body type) is now opening its third year at the Somerville Theatre in Davis Square, a perfect venue given its vaudeville past.
While it could not be described as ‘tasteful’ (and wouldn’t want to be), “The Slutcracker” is more artful than a simple exhibition of naughty ladies provocatively stripping off their festive garments to the strains of Tchaikovsky. Choreographer, Vanessa White, A.K.A., Sugar Dish, roots her balletic bacchanal to a well-executed satirical narrative, concerning Clara (Femme Bones), a woman who, proposed to on Christmas, is more excited by the social cache of her luxurious diamond ring than she is by her soon to be husband, Fritz (Paolo Mania).
Clara’s mother, played by the funny and courageous 86-year-old vaudevillian, Mary Dolan, stirs up trouble between the couple during a drunken holiday party when she challenges Fritz’s manhood and Clara’s frigidity by brandishing a glowing pink dildo. This prop will of course, be transfigured into the Slutcracker Prince, a surprisingly graceful dancing phallus who, with the help a worthy troupe of fluffers, teachers Clara a healthy respect for sexuality.
In its depiction of the engagement, the preparation for the party, and the drunken fiasco itself, the first act of “The Slutcracker” turns out to offer a surprising portion of very funny social commentary executed purely through dance. The second act is more simply a parade of some sugar plum fairies with a difference to the delight of a boisterous crowd—with a notably vocal female contingent.
Part of the fun of “The Slutcracker” is the pure joy the cast exudes in their performance. Far from exploitation, feels almost like therapy for a room full of people on both sides of the stage who all exude an air of getting away with something. In season full of ostentatious, artificial religiosity, such an irreverent celebration is some of the most holiday-themed fun you can have with your jingle-bells off.
“The Slutcracker: a burlesque plays at the Somerville Theatre through December 24.