11th Dec, 2018

Sheer delight as seasonal favourite The Nutcracker wows audiences

Ross Crawford 26th Nov, 2018

The Nutcracker, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Birmingham Hippodrome

PINCH yourself, because an evening of pure magic is in store with this stunning production.

Up and down the country The Nutcracker has become a welcome fixture on the Christmas Calendar but this production surely must rank among the very best in the UK.

The sets are stunning, the dancing exquisite and the sheer joy the performers bring radiates out and into the audience.

All this and Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s music too played by the excellent Royal Ballet Sinfonia makes for an unforgettable evening.

It’s Christmas Eve at the home of ballet student Clara, played by the rather wonderful Karla Doorbar, when Drosselmeyer the magician, played by Jonathan Payn, arrives to entertain the guests…

Karla Doorbar as Clara in The Nutcracker / Photo by Bella Kotak.

What happens next takes the audience on a glorious journey of the imagination, all danced superbly by this world class ensemble.

Perhaps it’s my imagination but the contrasts seemed to be more emphasised this year too making for greater definition between the ballet’s darker moments and the triumph of good.

Stand out moments? It’s packed with them, but top billing must go to the Momoko Hirata’s performance as the Sugar Plum Fairy – such poise and control!

She was ably partnered by the equally excellenty Cesar Morales as The Prince in the famous pas de deux at the show’s climax.

Celine Gittens was superb as the Rose Fairy and Samara Downs starred too as the Snow Fairy.

The Arabian Dance of Delia Matthews, Lennert Steegen, Harry Wright and Alexander Yap was absolute perfection while the Chinese Dance and Russian Dance proved real crowd pleasers.

However from top to bottom, from the children to the ballet principals what really stood out was the joy the performers brought to the stage and that joy was infectious.

It meant that at the end of a stunning evening a packed audience headed home with smiles on their faces and a warm glow in their hearts.

The Nutcracker is at the Birmingham Hippodrome until to Thursday, December 13. Tickets cost from £20 on 0844 338 5000 or visit https://www.brb.org.uk/

Ross Crawford

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