Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Wayne Eagling
Reviewer: Vicki Goodwin
Few things feel as gloriously festive as Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, and inside the Empire is the perfect sumptuous treat waiting to launch us into the holiday season.
The stage has been transformed into a resplendent Edwardian backdrop where ice-skaters effortlessly glide across the icy scene. It’s Christmas eve and we join Clara and her family as they welcome friends and loved ones into their home to enjoy the festivities. The house itself is a masterpiece both in size and execution. You get the impression that only a venue as large as the Empire could house such an extravagant production.
Artists of the company and students from Tring Park school for the Performing Arts make up the guests, who certainly get into the spirit of the season with enjoyable scenes. However, no party would be complete without magical entertainment; enter the mysterious Drosselmeyer (James Streeter) who enthralls the guests with multiple illusions. During the festivities the young Clara (Amy Jones) is gifted a Nutcracker doll that opens up another world, for it is when she falls asleep that we are spirited away to a magical realm.
Amy Jones is a delight to watch. Her childlike exuberance is matched in Seamus Mcintosh’s Freddie. It is through their performances that we truly believe that the dreamscape before us could be real. There’s a stunning battle between mice and soldiers, which is as playful as it is majestic. Daniel Kraus is truly captivating as the Mouse King. His athletic dancing is commendable; definitely a favourite with the crowd. Junor Souza as the Nutcracker come to life is perfect, as too is the adult Clara (Lauretta Summerscales) who is spellbinding in execution.
Each scene features numerous dancers, yet everything flows with such ease that you forget that they are bound by the constraints of the stage. The costumes are flawless, transporting us to a world of dazzling snowflakes as well as exotic wonders. Don’t be intimidated by the idea of going to see a ballet performance this season. ENB have created a production that is the perfect mix of technical execution and childlike wonder. From the joy of seeing a hot air balloon glide across the stage, to the awe of dancers at the peak of talent, this is a great ballet to see with all the family.
Runs until Saturday 3rd December | Image: Laurent Liotardo Photography