The Hard Nut, BAM, New York — ‘Funny, cynical and wise’

Mark Morris begins his Nutcracker conventionally enough, with a Christmas gathering. But this party, set in Ice Storm suburbia, amounts to a riot of self-interest. The hosts’ preening teenage daughter (Lesley Garrison) wants sex. Their boy (June Omura, more demonic with each passing year) wants trouble. The clueless dad (Morris as a man who has mistaken himself for a cartoon) wants to appear in charge. The maid (Brandon Randolph in a detailed role debut) wants as much fun as her thankless job permits. The venturesome guests want to get it on with anyone but the person they came with. And the mom (delectable John Heginbotham) wants to be sedated.