A visit to see ‘The Nutcracker’ always signifies the start of my Christmas. The classic Tchaikovsky ballet which tells the magical story of the night before Christmas, is a seasonal treat that arrived at the Birmingham Hippodrome this weekend, delighting audiences young and old.
To put it simply, The Nutcracker is Christmas, especially when staged by the fabulous Birmingham Royal Ballet, celebrating 25 years in 2015. It is sparkle and glitter, excitement and anticipation, presents and children, and, most of all dreams and magic. This is all reflected in the exquisite set design, which transforms from a sumptuous Victorian home, complete with an enormous Christmas Tree (courtesy of Prince Albert, who introduced them in 1840), to a veritable winter wonderland, with bleak midwinter trees and falling snow. Simply spellbinding.
The story of The Nutcracker tells of Clara, a young girl who is presented with a Nutcracker doll by a magician, Drosselmeyer. As night falls Clara is unable to sleep, so creeps downstairs to collect her Nutcracker from under the Christmas tree. But magic is afoot, and the sitting room grows and changes to a sinister enclave filled with giant rats, all of whom seem to want to hurt Clara. The Nutcracker then springs to life, along with her brothers toy soldiers to run to the defence of the young girl. Thus starts a night of dream adventures that encompass dancers from many different lands, a flying dove and a Sugarplum fairy.
As Clara, Laura Purkiss is wonderful, her dancing is full of charm and youthful elegance. Celine Gittens is a memorable Sugar Plum fairy, so beautiful and majestic when dancing with the Prince. And, as the Prince, Tyrone Singleton, who I adored in Carmina Burana shows that he is the Prince of sensual romance, with a performance that combines drama and sensitivity.
The famous score soars across the theatre, played so expertly by the excellent Royal Ballet Sinfonia, and, as the performance comes to a close, it is clear that, 25 years on, Birmingham Audiences are still as enchanted by The Nutcracker as they were 25 years ago.
The Nutcracker is at the Birmingham Hippodrome until 13th December. Click here for ticket information.