The Nutcracker – Christmas Officially Begins In Birmingham

What signals the start of Christmas to you? If you live in Birmingham, and you love dance, and, in particular, ballet, Christmas comes with the opening of The Nutcracker staged by the Birmingham Royal Ballet at the Birmingham Hippodrome. It is always a magical, glorious spectacle, exquisite escapism of the highest order, and it brings families together in a celebration of Christmas. Last night was the opening night for the 2019 Christmas season, which was its 29th year, and it was perfect, it always is!

Tchaikovsky’s classic Christmas tale of magic and mystery that takes place on Christmas Eve is a festive staple. And after taking a break last year for the marvellous, and sometimes hilarious Cinderella, The Nutcracker made a welcome return with what may be its most beautiful staging ever. The story is a simple one, the lovely Clara(Karla Doorbar) is given a special gift by the magician Drosselmeyer, a Nutcracker doll that she instantly falls in love with.  Creeping downstairs to retrieve the doll from under the Christmas tree, she is suddenly transported to a magical land, where the Nutcracker is alive, the rats are as big as people and there is a dancing Sugarplum fairy, a beautiful Snow Queen magical Spanish dancers, and a glorious flying swan to transport Clara through a snowy, wonderful wilderness.

 There is just so much to recommend The Nutcracker as the perfect Christmas viewing. From the moment the curtains open to reveal the enormous, and totally exquisite Christmas tree, the scene is set for a ballet that is a visually stunning feast for the eyes. The snowy winter wonderland scene is another standout, it actually brings a lump to the throat with its sheer loveliness.  The performances are excellent. Jonathan Payn makes an energetic and exciting Drosselmeyer, whilst Karla Doorbar, who is in virtually every scene as Clara, is more than up to the task, and is an enchanting presence. The always excellent Cesar Morales and the revelation that was Miki Mizutani in place of a poorly Momoko Hirata were beautiful and tender in the roles of The Prince and The Sugar Plum Fairy and a special mention must also go to  Celine Gittens who made an exquisite Rose Fairy – simply beautiful.
The Nutcracker is at the Birmingham Hippodrome until December 14th . Click here for ticket information.