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Dance Review: Attack Theatre's 'No-Nut' exudes holiday charm

Monday, December 30, 2002

By Jane Vranish

Attack Theatre's "This Ain't the Nutcracker" seemed more like the "Nut" in its third edition Friday night at the Hazlett Theater on the North Shore. But instead of Marie, there was a young newspaper boy, Kieran Coleman, who quickly morphed into an adult, Peter Kope. Kope wasted no time in discovering his own Sugar Plum, Michele de la Reza, and the pair thus encountered a magical cellist named Dave Eggar and some purple Snowflakes called Muses on their journey together with a glowing briefcase.

Of course, that's stretching things a little. This particular "no-Nut" is based on "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," leaving plenty of options for things betwixt and between reality and fantasy. It all took place on three levels. The quartet of ultra-hip musicians, usually found offstage or in the orchestra pit, deservedly got the top spot overlooking the action -- Eggar along with percussionist Kevin Kornicki, keyboardist Tom Perozzi and bassist Jay Weissman.

Tantalizing video clips by Nick Fox-Gieg, Chas Marsh and Zoe Woodworth were projected just below and took de la Reza and Kope into the streets, up on a rooftop and into a boxing ring. This brand of Attack also included a pair of second-story frames for "Plato's windows" and back-lit screens at the bottom just for dramatic silhouettes.

The "Secret Life" concept served as a loose framework for some of Attack's best pieces. Certainly de la Reza and Kope are performing at their dancing peak, exuding a remarkable intimacy and timing from a husband and wife who obviously share every inch of their lives together. "Negotiation" was slick as butter and "Bach's Seats" provided choice viewing from every angle.

The evening followed them through a couple's ups and downs -- the fight for control over a "Remote Control," the sparring, a love letter written on a typewriter and a reconciliation inspired and literally moved by Eggar playing his cello.

But everything had a fresh air about it, the feeling of not knowing what's around the next dance corner. De la Reza emerged from underneath a large lavender-tinged drop for a dramatic opening, but much of the fantasy came in at a lower key, almost like the daydreams we all have -- still a part of reality when you really come down to it. The six muses were lovely and at their best in enhancing "All at Once."

The immediacy and pace of the program kept one step ahead of the audience, who were kept guessing about the various outcomes. The overall effect was surprisingly taut, given the sophistication of this multi-media production and the connection between de la Reza and Kope gave it a certain holiday charm -- despite the title.


Jane Vranish is a freelance dance critic.

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