This weekend at the Southern Theater, burlesque troupe the Wicked Wenches Cabaret turns the classic Nutcracker story into a a satirical and sexy romp for Busta' Nutcracker
. Set in the 1950s, the piece incorporates various dance styles -- from modern to pole dancing -- as an 18-year-old Clara gets whisked away to Land of Vice.
Cherrybomb Jac, who runs Wicked Wenches, says that the group has been in existence since 2011, but has been getting more serious recently. The troupe currently has 13 members, many of whom are theater majors. However, there are also some biologists and engineers in the mix, plus one drag queen.
Wicked Wenches came out of Burlesque MN
, an alternative dance fitness studio in northeast Minneapolis that specializes in body empowerment through things like pole dancing, silks, and other fun alternative exercise methods.
"We decided to have a troupe made up of these students all using similar methods," Jac says. "It was born out of a desire to make people laugh, and share this really unique art form."
Jac says that the Wicked Wenches are all about body empowerment. Their shows are filled with modern dance, pole dancing, acrobatics, comedy, and political satire. Striptease is thrown in as the cherry top.
] is really tongue in cheek," Jac says. For the show, Clara is re-imagined as an 18-years-old woman living in the 1950s and attending Miss Frigid's Housewife Finishing School. A nutcracker, given to her by her Aunt Sexpot, whisks her off to a land of vice where she tries beer for the first time, explores her sexual freedom, and ends up going to college. "There's tons of acrobatics," Jac says of the show, "and it's very humorous." Though it's an adult performance, and 18-plus, they try not to make it raunchy. "I would almost put it at PG-13 -- if it weren't for the tassel twirling," she says.
The Wicked Wenches distinguish themselves from other burlesque troupes in town in that they're really more like a theater troupe. "We rehearse twice a week," she says, and the company puts on fully scripted shows that completely encompass a story. They are also a closed troupe, and rarely have guests. If they do, they have to be approved by someone in the group.
For Jac, the troupe's focus is really positive. They want to make things accessible so that the shows are sexy -- but not blatantly sexual.
IF YOU GO:
7 p.m. Thursday, December 19; 8 p.m. Friday, December 20-21
2014 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis
Tickets are $15 on Thursday and $20 Friday and Saturday
1420 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN