‘Tiny Pretty Things’

A trashy and silly soap opera of a 10-episode series (more to come?) and set in a Chicago ballet school, Tiny Pretty Things somehow retains its engagement, no matter how ‘off pointe’ and absurd the storyline(s).

When star pupil Cassie (Anna Maiche) is pushed off the roof by a person unknown, the school becomes a focus of more than just a police investigation for attempted murder. Her replacement, sassy Neveah (Kylie Jefferson), walks into a hothouse of competitive bitchiness and internecine, board level, power struggles.

Threatened by Neveah, new queen bee Bette (Casimere Jollette) needs to score the principle role at the forthcoming showcase performance, choreographed by emerging superstar, Ramon (Bayardo De Murguia). Pressure on Bette is increased exponentially with her mother (Michelle Nolden) bidding to be president of the school AND her recently graduated sister, Delia (Tory Trowbridge), a star in ascendancy. Uptight June (Daniela Norman) also needs to score that principle role otherwise mom (Alexandra Bokyun Chun) will take her out of school and back to London.

Simple so far. Now throw in Neveah’s street-wise LA upbringing, Shane (Brennan Clost) and his struggles as a gay boy growing up in redneck country who just happens to be having sex with Oren (Barton Cowperthwaite), Bette’s boyfriend, who himself is bulimic. Star male dancer, Nabil (Michael Hsu Rosen), having been heard arguing with girlfriend Cassie, is prime suspect number one for the push – at least among the students.

Those little power plays and jealousies are nothing compared to the struggles for control of the school itself with Madame Dubois (Lauren Holly) fighting off challenges from staff, choregraphers and board members alike.

That’s episode 1 accounted for…..

All in all, Tiny Pretty Things is a crazy mishmash of ambition, dance, suspicion and competitiveness. It’s certainly beautiful to look at even if crater-sized holes can be picked in the plot lines as each of the main characters (and some less central) come under suspicion for that push. There’s lots of sex in the confines of the dorms as the young (and not so young) find release. And partners are seemingly readily interchangeable.

Overall, it’s fun and eminently watchable even if, at times, you’re left howling in disbelief at the latest plot development (and the fact the emphasis is on contemporary dance rather than classic ballet).

Rating: 60%

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