The weather in the Northeast this holiday season caught a lot of folks off guard with balmy temperatures and a conspicuous absence of snow. But around this time of year at Greenwich Village's Minetta Lane Theatre, snowflakes never stand a chance anyway with all the steamy warmth emanating from the stage. I'm speaking of course about the latest incarnation of Company XIV's Nutcracker Rouge, which, happily, is establishing itself as a wintertime, adults-only tradition of song, dance, and incomparable burlesque that warms the cockles of your heart better than a hot toddy.
As young purists might demand, this dance-theater adaptation includes a delicate heroine, a handsome prince and an evil queen who frequently intones, ''Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?'' But as no one might expect, the staging also offers opera singers performing classical arias, a taped score that ranges from Tchaikovsky to klezmer to Louis Armstrong, and enough angular black fashion to fill a Yohji Yamamoto runway show. (The costumes are by Olivera Gajic.)
Imagine the story of Cinderella told in a burlesque cabaret. The stage has been transposed to the more hedonistic, libertine times of Louis XIV, and the evil Step Mother is a 6-foot-5 drag queen who looks like the love child of Naomi Campbell and Grace Jones — with a sexy six-pack.