Freudian retelling of “The Nutcracker,” which has shades of Cirque du Soleil, “Sleep No More” and “Fanny and Alexander” (with a dash of “Satyricon”). Tchaikovsky’s darling little Clara is a mini-Marie Antoinette with a comeuppance in store, to be delivered by Drosselmeyer, her godfather. The genius of this production, which includes eye-dazzling physical feats performed on giant hula hoops and from silken swings, is its transformation of traditional ballet into louche vaudeville: the famous Spanish dance becomes a foot-stomping, castanet-clicking striptease; in the storied Kingdom of the Sweets, Clara wields a fat black whip to play gleeful dominatrix over a troupe of bare-bottomed, harnessed Licorice Boys.
Nudity abounds, along with numerous beautiful bodies, some of whose contortions would look downright pornographic if they weren’t executed so flawlessly.
Act II morphs from something resembling traditional burlesque into a strange landscape of sexual fear and discovery. Even corseted Clara is liberated into the Sugar Plum Fairy, turning in a performance that would best Gypsy Rose Lee. Her final, nearly naked pas de deux with the Prince, who himself is clad in nothing but low heels, a waistcoat and a glittering jockstrap, mixes erotica, romance and virtuosity. Their dance alone makes this bawdy Christmas delight worth a visit.
“Nutcracker Rouge” continues through Jan. 5 at the Minetta Lane Theater, 18 Minetta Lane, Greenwich Village; (800) 745-3000, ticketmaster.com.