BalletDanceFestive 15/16North WestReview

Moscow City Ballet: The Nutcracker – Palace Theatre, Manchester

Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Choreography: Victor Smirnov-Golovanov

Conductor: Igor Shark

Reviewer: Sarah O’Toole

Although the end of the holiday season has just past, Moscow City Ballet’s production of seasonal favourite The Nutcracker still manages to hold on to the magic of the season as they make a welcome return to the Palace Theatre in Manchester.

The ballet which is filled with the magic of Christmas is a perfect introduction to the art from, a simple story with instantly recognisable music from Tchaikovsky that has become embedded in popular culture. The music is a delight and under the baton of Igor Shark remains powerful and emotive and one of the true highlights of the evening.

It does take a while for the company to find their stride and energy, but as the ballet progresses things start to take shape and the magic pulls you in and really starts to captivate non more so than the excellent performances from Yulia Zhuravleva as Clara and Andrei Zhuravlev as her Nutcracker Prince – their chemistry is a delight to watch, their shapes and lines smooth and full of chemistry, this is a sparkling duo which is full of the romance you expect from such a classic art form.

Elizaveta Dvorkina and Natalya Povago’s set design and costumes are sublime, the attention to detail is exquisite, from the flashes of colour in the costume to the fine details nothing has been missed here and are a delight to witness.

One major criticism of the production is the use of an overly loud snow machine at the end of act 1 which distracts the audience from the action on stage, while it may create something extra, it takes you instantly away from the magical world the performers try so hard to create and transports us instantly to a theatre in Manchester – does it really add something so special to the production to truly justify its use? One would argue not as would many of the audience members around us at this performance.

With cast that work hard to keep the magic alive The Nutcracker just manages to keep hold of Christmas goodwill and cheer, but performing it any later in the year may just loose its impact. Overall a delightfully splendid evening.

Reviewed on 14th January 2016 | Image: Contributed

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