The Nutcracker | Chopin Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Desmond Gray and Ariana Burks

Desmond Gray and Ariana Burks

Michael Brosilow

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 30 2016
Price: $30-$45
thehousetheatre.com
The House Theatre’s playful and irreverent version of E.T.A. Hoffman’s famous story begins with the news of tragedy; from there, Christmas is nearly canceled, but it’s the very threat of loss that imbues the holiday with meaning. Kids and grown-ups will be charmed by Clara (Ariana Burks) and her talking toys as they defeat the Rat King—a symbolic defeat of fear and death’s obliterating spell—rekindling the season’s celebratory spirit. With puppetry and other effects, this singular production is perfectly set in Chopin’s small, circular space, and while the songs feel a bit ancillary, the onstage orchestra is impressive. It’s a smart, layered, and very modern take on a classic tale. —Suzanne Scanlon

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