Reading the program notes to Dance Crash Chicago’s new “movement play,” you learn that the story appears to be a strange amalgam of “Hamlet” and the game of chess. Then you find out that a designer drug called “Paris Dahmer” has a central role, central enough to warrant its own dancer. The prospects for the next couple of hours grow grimmer and grimmer. The happy surprise is that Dance Crash has put together an engaging and entertaining program of modern dance, despite a storyline that would embarrass an aspiring graphic novelist. The athletic and confrontational style of dance that is the company’s hallmark gets a thorough workout in multiple battles over succession to the throne in an unnamed kingdom. Choreographer Christopher McCray hypnotically conveys the hallucinatory dreamscapes of Paris Dahmer; the mannequin sequence which marks the Queen’s downfall is perhaps the creepiest five minutes currently available on any Chicago stage. Christopher Courtney’s street-inflected moves lend his Rook a stylish charisma, while Lyndsey Rhoads makes a striking antagonist, even if her Carmenesque skirt twirling is overdone. Dance Crash does for Chicago dance what the House Theatre has been rumored to do for its theater; it brings a youthful exuberance to the art form, along with the occasional brash overreach. And how much sense does “The Nutcracker” really make, anyway? (John Beer)
This production is now closed.