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Nutcracker Nutz & Boltz 

Shaping romance from rummage

Wednesday, Dec 21 2005
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The stealthy players of Lunatique Fantastique unveil the secret lives of dusty odds and ends in this Nutcracker. During the show's single hour, stars materialize from kitchenware, clothing, and cleaning artillery to present E.T.A. Hoffman's story of Clara, her generous godfather, her favorite gift, and her journey across wondrous lands; among the found objects featured are dancing nightgowns, mischievous mousetraps, clever coat hangers, silly slippers, and talented teakettles. While the characters are practically voiceless, the players still succeed at shaping romance from rummage. Even so, the simple magic of the piece is more palpable if you're already familiar with the holiday tale. Excerpts from Tchaikovsky decorate only selected scenes, starving quieter moments of a score -- you'll wish the music would linger. This marvel of puppetry is a matinee suited for young audiences, in which household items borrow charming personalities from their shadows (that is, actors wearing all black). At play's end, the shadows shed their disguises to show curious little minds how to fashion toys from tin cans and cotton caps. Nutz & Boltz makes a garage sale look like a toy store.

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Emily Forbes

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