BWW Review: Time for COCKTAIL HOUR at the Crest Theatre at Old School Square

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BWW Review: Time for COCKTAIL HOUR at the Crest Theatre at Old School Square

Time for "Cocktail Hour" by Ballets with a Twist

By Courtney Hess


Photo: "Hot Toddy"

Photo Credit: Nico Malvaldi

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (December 21, 2019) - I will never look at classic cocktails the same way after experiencing Marilyn Klaus' immersive show, "Cocktail Hour" by her New York based company, Ballets with a Twist. This innovative and clever show transcended time periods and dance styles with small stories inspired by drinks such as "Lemon Drop", "Cuba Libre", and "Bloody Mary". Some of the pieces were abstract; such as the Absinthe inspired solo performed by Claire Mazza amist green light and tiny fairy wings, while others were sequential with amusing storylines such as the ensemble opener, "Hot Toddy" (pictured) and the royal wedding played out through emotional tableaus in "White Russian".

Marilyn Klaus' choreography was just as theatrical as promised, at times it was reminiscent of Bob Fosse and others a James Bond film. The choreography for "Manhattan", enhanced by the projections by Emma Huibregste and Shane Rutkowski, was especially innovative - I have never seen such unique propwork en pointe. "Boilermaker", performed by Morgan Stinnett, had wonderfully lyrical gestures that matched perfectly with composer Stephen Gaboury's song, "Five O'Clock Shadow". "Scotch on the Rachmaninoff" was a refreshing male duet so playful in its choreography that the audience was audibly laughing in the end.

The costume designs by Catherine Zehr turned the performance into performance art. Particularly memorable were the lovely asymmetrical bodices and layered romantic tutus in "White Russian" and the elegant 14th century inspired pancake tutu coupled with a bejeweled crown used to enhance the "Bloody Mary" solo. The red and black shape-shifting ensemble for "Shirley Temple" was key to the story telling, from the added black veil piece to the white symbolic tutu. Combined with the choreography by Marilyn Klaus, original music by Stephen Gaboury, and the rich and bright color palette of lighting designer Dan Hansell; "Cocktail Hour" was genuinely original.

While all of the dancers were lovely and a pleasure to watch; Courtlyn Hanson stood out even in the ensemble numbers. She executed particularly quick bourres which were breathtaking in simplicity, and her duet with Seth Ives in "Lemon Drop" was my favorite piece of the night; followed by the grand finale "Holy Water" that lit up the room, and literally, it sparkled. The transitions in "Holy Water" were such a joy to follow, as solo dancers broke off from groups my eyes danced around the stage following the storyline as if I were a part of the piece. The Crest Theatre at Old School Square was the perfect venue to highlight "Cocktail Hour" - it was like seeing history come alive.

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