nytheatre.com review by Robin Reed
Every Christmas when I was a kid, we saw the Boston Ballet’s
Nutcracker. And all I ever wanted for Christmas was to be able to
take the Snow Queen home and put her in my music box and watch her dance
for me forever and ever. Every once in a while, you’re lucky enough to
see a show that takes you back to times like these. I was delighted to
experience this through watching Randall Jaynes’ performance of Billy
Nijinsky presented by Spencer/Colton at the Harry du Jur Playhouse
August 15, 2002
The story, written by Jaynes, is of the downward spiral of a man obsessed. He makes every effort to connect with the object of his obsession, a dancer with whom he shares a surname and a few grasping-at-straws sort of details, but to no avail. In doing so, he isolates himself from the rest of the world, eventually to the point of insanity. Jaynes is so incredibly engaging and endearing as Billy that you find yourself all at once embarrassed for his actions and rooting for his gumption. Every single one of his movements is crisp and deliberate. I never imagined that I would be so captivated by watching a man move in, on and around a chair. (It also helps that said chair, designed by Peter Agoos, has a life and character all its own!)
I find dancers awe-inspiring for their mere skill alone, but when their physicality breathes life into a silent role, they bring the art to a whole new beautiful level. Edisa Weeks is absolutely stunning as the Spectre. She brings a grace and strength to the stage, while fleshing out the story as a symbol of Billy’s hope. Weeks and Jaynes’ pas de deux challenges and embraces everything that is beautiful about ballet—breaking all the societal and historical rules while hitting all the technical and emotional marks.
Perhaps one of the cleanest all around pieces I’ve ever seen in FringeNYC, Billy Nijinsky is a delicious union of theater, dance and design exacted with precision and elegance on all levels.