The world premiere, a Cal Performances co-commission, was "The Vinegar Works: Four Dances of Moral Instruction," a romp around the macabre Edwardiana of Edward Gorey. Even if his wit leaves you cold, this homage to the late master's visual and tonal universe, with Michael Curry's fanciful puppets and McIntyre's apt setting of the Shostakovich Piano Trio No. 2, is a mood enhancer.
The choreography references four Gorey books (with excerpts read by Alan Cumming), though McIntyre alludes to others: Yes, that was the bird from "The Dubious Guest" you saw bouncing across the stage. Perry opens with a fanciful solo, both athletic and formally reserved, while the recorded Cumming recites an alphabet of bloody demises from "The Gashlycrumb Tinies."
A death figure reminiscent of what you might encounter at a New Orleans jazz funeral (Elizabeth Keller) dominates the stage picture. Later, Travis Walker, Ashley Werhun and Amber Mayberry seem to plan each other's ends in "The Deranged Cousins"; McIntyre conjures a Totentanz from Shostakovich's extended pizzicato passages. A good, grisly time is had by all.
-The San Francisco Chronicle