Rococo Rouge

Rococo Rouge
produced by Company XIV
directed by Austin McCormick
Laura Careless
Katrina Cunningham
Courtney Giannone
Lea Helle
Rob Mastrianni
Cailan Orn
Davon Rainey
Steven Trumon Gray
Allison Ulrich
Brett Umlauf
Shelly Watson

Company XIV’s (off-off-Broadway) cabaret show, Rococo Rouge, gives us a hoop dancer, ballet dancers, a sort of balloon dancer… can-can girls, a pole dancer, hermaphroditic dancers (pasties and a codpiece)… singers, a guitarist, bustiers…

In short, it’s a sort of burlesque. It succeeds in being sexy but never vulgar – great! From the suggestive pas de deux to the acrobatics, it’s delightful. Its young, versatile cast of 10 sing, dance, titillate as needed. Most of the music is recorded, including opera orchestration, but there’s a guitarist accompanying the solo singing. The hostess, full-bodied and sensual, mingles with the audience and offers us vapid, wonderful lines like “To be kissed by a fool is stupid; to be fooled by a kiss is worse.”

No one’s far from the audience in the small theater, and there’s simultaneously and intimacy and a sense of fun.

The company’s named after Louis the 14th, and if reputation be reliable, he’d approve of the bawdy evening.

Artistic director/choreographer Austin McCormick is a hip, creative talent. He’s put together an evening of assorted acts from circus to go-go. And he’s meticulous in execution. He certainly does a great job of directing the actors to avoid the pillar center stage.

Zane Pihlstrom’s costumes are very appealing, as is Jeanette Yew’s evocative lighting (including some very nice silhouettes).

Two intermissions are included two encourage audience to buy drinks, and they interrupt the otherwise smooth flow of the acts. But this is great music hall!

- Steve Capra
September 2014

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