WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
The Nutcracker is a family favourite. A fantastical, festive treat complete with snow, ice, candy and pure enchantment from start to finish. Think sparkling costumes, stunning sets and special dancing scenes that will take you on a wonderful journey with little Clara – to a world where nothing else matters – a world as whimsical as those in your dreams.
After a festive run in Scotland, Scottish Ballet’s The Nutcracker takes to the Theatre Royal stage until Saturday 3rd February. We might be well into winter by now, but we love the twinkling reminder of all things festive – with a flicker of Christmas magic for good measure.
So what is the story behind this beautiful ballet? The show opens in a the grand drawing room of a festive, family home. Decked out in reds and golds, the Colonel and his wife are celebrating Christmas Eve with family and friends. It’s an enchanting party for their children, Clara and Fritz – who are very excited about the big Christmas tree reveal, the gift giving and the entertainment. But the mood changes when a mysterious magician, Drosselmeyer, and his three entertainers enter the room. Drosselmeyer gifts Clara with a very special Christmas present: a nutcracker doll that she immediately adores. As the night comes to a close, Clara drifts into a deep sleep with her new toy in a darkened room. A sleep that will take her to a sparkling, snow-covered land.
The clock strikes midnight and giant mice take to the stage. Together with Clara, the dancing troupe travel to an enchanting land of ice and snow where they meet the beautiful Snow Queen and the Snowflake Fairies.
Clara’s glittering journey continues, travelling to the dazzling land of Sweets with The Nutcracker Prince and The Sugar Plumb Fairy who provides entertainment for her special guests. A sparkling showcase comes next, with dancers representing sweets from far-off lands including Spain, Arabia, Russia, France, China and England. Waltz of the Flowers closes this sparkling scene, followed by the breathtaking ‘pas de deux’ danced by The Nutcracker Prince and The Sugar Plumb Fairy. In a flash of colour and creativity, the dancers wave goodbye to Clara as she drifts back off into a deep sleep, returning to the drawing room where it all began. Drosselmeyer appears back on the stage with his blue sequin cloak and the curtain closes on the creative chaos that is The Nutcracker. Leaving the audience to question: was this all a dream? Did it really happen? Or was it another of Drosselmeyer’s crazy allusions?
WHO’S IN IT?
Scottish Ballet’s The Nutcracker is something of an experience. A memory to last a lifetime – and we have the cast, the creatives and the musicians to thank for this truly special showcase. Sophie Martin as The Sugar Plum Fairy brings this enchanting tale to life – transporting audiences to a mysterious world through her magical charm, her stunning stage presence and her delicate dancing. Constance Devernay as The Snow Queen makes all your childhood dreams come true. We’re blown away by the closing scene in act one where The Snow Queen is joined by her dancing snowflakes, taking Clara and The Prince on a wonderful journey through ice and snow. Snow is falling on the stage, giant snowflakes make the backdrop and beautiful ballerinas drift through the air in a stunning, sweeping performance. Special mention goes to The Nutcracker Prince, played by Christopher Harrison, who performed as a child in the original Peter Darrell production. Born in a small village near Stirling, Christopher had a passion for dance from a young age and has pursued his dreams, growing from Nutcracker child to Nutcracker Prince with the Scottish Ballet.
Nicholas Shoesmith plays the mysterious Drosselmeyer, Matthew Broadbent is The Colonel and Grace Horler plays The Colonel’s Wife. Lily Wearmouth as little Clara is a real joy to watch – cute and confident, enjoying every second of being on stage in and amongst the dazzling dance numbers. The principal dancers, soloists and artists bring the whole production together – effortlessly blending the elegant dances of soldiers, snowflakes and fairies in many a cultural style.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT?
It’s a plush and sumptuous production from start to finish. From the heartwarming Christmas Eve setting, to the whimsical, wintery scenes and the colourful Land of Sweets – it’s a fantastical adventure to be enjoyed by all the family. Accompanied by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra, this classical ballet was devised in 1973 by the company’s founding artistic director, and was revived to widespread acclaim in 2014. With music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, choreography by Peter Darrell (the founder of the Scottish Ballet), set and costume design by Lez Brotherston and lighting design by George Thomson, I think we’ve found the perfect recipe for a beautiful ballet – whether you’re new to the art or an avid follower. We’re blown away by our Scottish Ballet experience – from the costumes and the characters, to the crazy lands we’re transported to, the live music and the effortless dancing.
What is very special about this production is that the child roles are played by children. In most ballet productions, children’s roles are played by smaller members of the main company – but here, you’ll see young dancers spending a large amount of time live on stage.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT?
The Nutcracker is a breathtaking ballet that transports audiences to another realm – where anything goes and everything glitters. Complete with a sugar-spun score and stunning routines, it’s the perfect production for all ages to enjoy. It’s a stunning introduction to ballet for newbies – but there is real quality and persistence in this classic tale, reminding dance enthusiasts why the The Nutcracker holds a special place in their hearts.
WHEN IS IT ON?
Scottish Ballet’s The Nutcracker will finish its tour at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal from 31st January – 3rd February 2018. Buy the last remaining tickets here.