Chicago’s new holiday tradition is NUTCRACKER at The House Theatre of Chicago. The modern spin on the Christmas classic is an imaginative and energetic spectacle. When I saw it for the first time last year, I was enchanted by the innovation. I repeated the experience this past Sunday night. Although I enjoyed the new cast in Tommy Rapley’s spirited choreographed dance and chase scenes, I became overly-aware of the darker side of this production. There were a lot of kids probably under 5 at the Sunday show. I was focused on this little girl’s reaction directly across from me. In her coordinated winter-white sweater dress and hat, she was a sweet little 4-year old. She was delightedly grinning at the snow falling from the ceiling. But then, death showed up and rats attacked. Her face matched her outfit. She was scared! It made me sensitive to the over-arching death theme. Powerful for adults! Terrifying for kids? Cautionary Spoiler Alert: Stabbing, neck-cracking, RATS! Thank goodness the little girl and her parents left during intermission because I didn’t want to see her terrified for life by the Rat King. NUTCRACKER is a holiday thriller! It’s exciting entertainment for kids, maybe 7 and up. For littler ones or sensitive children, it might induce nightmares... definitely not the sugar plum variety. Here’s my review from last year.
Enjoying a holiday double-header with me, James describes it with ‘a nail-biting nutcracker.’
Running Time: Two hours includes an intermission
At The Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St.
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 7pm
Thru December 30th
Buy Tickets at www.thehousetheatre.com