Company XIV's Paris

Photo by Mark Shelby Perry

Company XIV continues to miraculously meet their own highest of the high standards.

XIV’s Paris is a whirlwind of incredible talent and the most seductive environment you’ll find in New York City. Newly housed in the Irondale Theater, what was before compact and intimate now has the added feel of a small scale sprawling Greek theater. However, the intimacy is preserved by the cast helping patrons to find their seats and walking among the velvet couches that seat the audience throughout the show.

My favorite aspect of every Austin McCormick extravaganza is the complete disregard for gender roles and character expectations. The goddess Juno was played by the most traditionally masculine performer I’ve seen on an XIV stage, and Zeus was played by a woman wearing a tuxedo on one side and a red gown on the other, one personality dominant over the other.

The show follows Paris, portrayed perfectly by Jakob Karr, who is told by Zeus that he has to choose which goddess to give the golden apple to; Athena, Venus, or Juno. Whoever has possession of the apple is the fairest, and we all know how much drama that title can cause. Zeus, our hilarious, literally two faced, host left the admittedly tipsy crowd chuckling throughout the show at his narration of Paris’ indecision. Played by Charlotte Bydwell, an XIV newcomer, Zeus managed to always bring the audience’s attention back to him using his charming arrogance and mysterious other half.

Every time Zeus disappeared, the seductive fight for Paris’ attention continued and did not disappoint. Athena, played by Marcy Richardson, caused the entire theater’s jaws to drop during a seemingly impossible opera rendition of Adele’s ‘Skyfall’, which Marcy sung flawlessly while doing insane pole acrobatics and wearing a corset, no less. How Paris didn’t hand over the apple right then, I don’t know, but next came Juno. Juno was mesmerizingly foreboding, stripping from a glittering black dress to a barely-there shiny black ensemble that may have eliminated the need to use any imagination. Randall Scotting, playing Juno, is an opera superstar with quite an impressive resume, so Juno definitely had the chops to follow Athena and make her case. Paris seemed just a little intimidated, however, so the spotlight moved to Venus.

Storm Marrero played Venus in the way Venus was meant to be played; in a fully sequined red gown singing Love on the Brain. With the Rihanna cover, she captivated everyone’s attention and dominated with her confidence, which turned out to be a beautiful contrast to the vulnerability of her version of Youth by Daughter. As a fan of Kat Cunning, who sang the same song on her XIV EP, I was prepared stand by Kat’s version vehemently, but Storm’s performance had such a different and more emotional vibe that I was pleasantly surprised.

However, the three goddess’s stunning displays of talent did not get any of them the apple in the end, because Helen of Troy, played by Lea Helle, elegantly danced in and became the apple of Paris’ eye. The tall hot blonde was ultimately the winner, because isn’t that just how the world works?

 

 

Performances take place at The Irondale Center, located at 85 South Oxford Street between Fulton Street and Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn, NY. Tickets for PARIS from $25 to $175. To book seats, couches and VIP tickets visit http://CompanyXIV.com or call 1-866-811-4111.

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