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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Review- Le Serpent Rouge (Company XIV)

The Fab Marquee review by Dianna Martin.

Lillith. The Garden of Eden combined with an amazing soundtrack that played in my head for hours afterwards. One of the most delightful drag queens I've seen in years. Sexuality. Fall from grace. Beauty in gorgeous dance choreography. A mesmerizing set and lighting design. A desire imparted upon me to brush up on my theological history to the point that I actually did. A commanding and intoxicating Ring Master as the devil...turning one of the oldest tales into an amazing circus of the seven deadly sins.

And Lillith...again, and with her powerful acting of the phrase "Hell Hath No Fury As a Woman Scorned."

Davon Rainey as the Drag Queen
photo credit: Steven Schreiber

These are things I walked away with after seeing Company XIV's Le Serpent Rouge, an amazing work of performance art by writer/director/choreographer Austin McCormick. From the moment you are greeted, program in one hand and yummy chocolates (the 8th deadly sin, no doubt) in the other, the mood is set: you have an amazing soundtrack of tunes that I would have found in my own home to set the tone of loneliness and life; a set that is somehow a cross between the antiquity of a 18th century French brothel and Bob Fosse's film All That Jazz - I half expected Roy Scheider's image to come out saying "It's Showtime!" in French to a mirror, with fog billowing as the lights are about to go out.

And then: our lovely Drag Queen (Davon Rainey), who is the Ring Master's/Devil's (Gioia Marchese) assistant and a serpent; comes out to start the show. As the piece unfolds, we are introduced by the Ring Master to the point of The Fall of Man; when women were forever blamed as having taken a bite out of that damn apple. Well, folks - this show gives you a little background: most do not bring Lillith (a seductive Yeva Glover) into the equation, and a little "what might have really happened in the Garden"...and I for one walked out of that theatre not only wanting to know more about Lillith, but also feeling like Eve had every right to bite that apple - and that it was really Adam's fault. Now, my being a woman could have everything to do with that...or it could have been the lovely way that Rainey, Marchese, and Glover entrance the doomed couple Adam and Eve (John Beasant III and Laura Careless, respectively) to play through the seven deadly sins until finally, finally - it is jealousy that seals the that so many of us can relate to. 

(L-R): Gioia Marchese as the Devil, John Beasant III as Adam and Laura Careless as Eve
photo credit: Steven Schreiber

My only problem with this piece is that it was not longer; but then, perhaps my sin is gluttony, for I certainly wanted more than my fill. The burlesque crowd will want to see this as well as so many others; Lillith has a great number in pasties and so much of it is definitely, as the program states, "for 17 and older"; we see, in choreography, what would have happened had Adam been able to get Lillith and Eve to do anything for his attention.

A rare treat of the senses - dancers, lovers of a good, juicy tale, and those whose delights are of the more sensual nature will find this an enjoyable show. Not for the faint of heart...nor those who are offended by interpretations of a mix of Thomas Mann, Charles Bukowski, John Erskine, and The Bible itself - all wrapped into one. Definitely recommended.

Company XIV presents
Le Serpent Rouge
May 15-June 6, 2009
303 Bond St

Tickets are $20 ($15 students/seniors) and can be purchased at For more information visit

Company XIV | 303 Bond St | Brooklyn

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