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Intertwining circus, drama, ballet and much more, Russian director Andrei Moguchy has brought Krakatuk the Nokia Center in Tel Aviv with performances through August 2. Adapting E.T.A. Hoffman's 1816 tale The Nutcracker and the Mouse King and setting it to the famous Tchaikovsky ballet score, Moguchy takes the circus to a completely post-modern place.
In a show divided into 10 scenes, Masha, the main character, falls asleep and enters a world of fantasy. In her dream she is met by her sweetheart along with other evil characters, most notably the Mouse King. At the end of the play she decides to stay with her lover in the fantasyland.
While the audience is captivated by the exotic costumes, fire flares and acrobatic moves, the plot is difficult to follow. At times, there appears to be little if any connection between the scenes. A big yellow clown, for instance, randomly appears after a jumping gymnast. Dialogue is also sparse, so the audience is left on its own to understand the story.
The ever-changing costumes, ranging from terrifying animal monsters with strange looking horns to big friendly clowns, are one of the main highlights of the performance. The audience never knows what to expect next visually.
Although the acrobats are generally dazzling, at certain times their moves become repetitive and lose their luster. The performers definitely don't lack talent or innovation, though. The audience was wowed when a man balanced a huge marble ball on his nose while another performer rode a unicycle atop the ball - an eye-popping feat.
Krakatuk is definitely worth seeing, though it might be improved were its producers to concentrate more on its circus aspects and less on its confusing plot.