The most impressive thing about Company XIV’s Le Serpent Rouge is not the show but the troupe’s fabulous theater on Bond Street in Brooklyn. I’ve argued for a while that Gowanus would make an ideal alt-theater district, given its many industrial spaces and garages. Hopefully, Company XIV is leading the way with its converted tow-truck warehouse.
They’re leading a little less, though, with Le Serpent Rouge, a lovely-looking but perhaps too familiar piece of dance-theater. On a round, Baroque-themed stage, a handful of performers enact a mashup of Bible stories—Lillith, Adam and Eve, the Seven Deadly sins—while overseen by an s&m Ring Mistress. Trying to work a sexy vibe, the piece—directed by Austin McCormick—features a fair amount of nudity, but occasionally feels like one of those “exotic” topless casino shows. Nonetheless, Yeva Glover (Lillith) and John Beasant III (Adam) are both talented dancers, and a late section of the piece that has each methodically pacing around the circular set is oddly compelling.
Not at all compelling is the show’s drag queen, lip-synching singers such as Peggy Lee. Hey folks, it’s 2009—drag queens are tired. Especially mediocre ones who want to give audience members—unlucky me!—a lap dance. If you insist, though, please deploy an actor without such nasty breath.