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  • Angela Allyn

Otherworld features a Nutcracker LARP!!!

After a rough start due to cast illnesses, the Otherworld Theatre’s REALM OF THE NUTCRACKER KING has at last opened in their charming north side space that is a Lord of the Rings, Dr. Who, Fantasy infused wonderland. If you are a D and D fan, or Live Action Role Player/RPG fan, you will feel right at home with this participatory 60 minute experience. This is not sit in your seat and watch the show theater. It's up on your feet and get in to the action.

As soon as you arrive at Otherworld and check in you are given an adorable blue nightcap to wear and begin to develop your own Dreamer character. All of the audience is welcomed into the space at once where they are greeted by a grown up Clara, now a maker and tinkerer twenty years past the experiences chronicled in the ETA Hoffman story that is now the mainstay of every regional ballet company. Clara hands us our lanterns as the clock chimes and we are exhorted to close our eyes and enter the dream world.

We open our eyes purportedly in the Realm and meet the Nutcracker King and his subjects: Fauna (from the Peppermint Forest)and Breadley (leader of Ginger town) a salty soldier with a dees, dems and do's Chicago accent, as well as puppets Cinnamon and Fluff the Marshmallow representative. Of course there is a Sugar Plum Fairy who is a multifaceted character as we will learn. Audience is plied with sweet treats– vegan and gluten free options are available upon request. The Nutcracker King has decided to hand off the crown. We get to meet the Fabulous Rat King, nephew of the seven headed villain of the ballet. The plot thickens.

I don’t want to spoil the ending but bring a joke and a fond wish and dream to add to the mix– the fun of the show is heavily dependent on the willingness of the audience to jump in and participate. Portions of the show have an improvisatory feel, and the cast for the most part goes all in to bring you in to the story. Special shout out to the Rat King, a character come to life in a fresh and enticing way.

Hurry if you want to experience this -the show only runs one more weekend with several "dream sessions" a day on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only through January 8, 2023 at the Otherworld Theatre 3914 N. Clark Street. For tickets and

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