Wednesday, 19 December 2018

'The Nutcracker' at the Royal Opera House

A perennial Christmas favourite, the Royal Ballet seems to dance 'The Nutcracker' every year as it's Christmas show and what a wonder and joy it is. The toy-maker Drosselmeyer's nephew has somehow been turned into a nutcracker and, at a party on Christmas Eve, he gives his god-daughter Clara a nutcracker soldier as a present. After everyone's gone to bed Clara goes downstairs to reclaim her present and that's when the magic starts to happen, as she shrinks and faces the Mouse King's army so that the Nutcracker has to lead the tin soldiers to defend her.

Luckily, Clara is a modern girl who takes off her ballet slipper and clobbers the Mouse King over the head and wins the war. The pair then travel to the Land of Sweets and the court of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince for exotic dance entertainments before returning to the real world in time for dawn when, miraculously, the Nutcracker transforms into Hans-Peter again. A paper-thin plot but who cares, it's the dancing and the spectacle that matters.

With 'The Nutcracker' it's the full package that makes it work - the music by Mr Tchaikovsky, Peter Wright's choreography, the gorgeous sets and costumes, all making it a Christmas treat. Big praise to Yasmine Naghdi as our Fairy and Ryoichi Hirano as the Prince, turning in great performances in the second half of the show. It's a grand spectacle and everyone should it at least once at Christmas.

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