The Nutcracker ballet is synonymous with Christmas, and in this gorgeous glittery Scottish Ballet production choreographed by Peter Darrell, the festive season takes on an effervescent elegance. This art form was once considered elite and may still be to some extent, yet these days a ticket won’t set you back any more (sometimes less) than a major musical, concert, panto or meal in a half decent restaurant. Anyone who has taken classes in ballet, will know just how disciplined it is – and this shows in its production values, meaning that the attention to detail, perfection and immaculate performances make it a stunning watch.
Visually speaking this is glorious, but it’s a feast for the ears too with Tchaikovsky’s music provided by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra and conducted by Jean-Claude Picard. The dancers and musicians work together in perfect harmony, with nuanced and spot-on timing. Nowhere is this more evident than in the ballet’s delicate signature piece: The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Sophie Martin as said fairy, moves with a molten like fluidity, her athletic en pointe prowess presented as if her body carried the weight of only a feather. This is the stuff of little girl’s dreams, appropriately so given that this too is the story. Snowflakes, tutus, sparkle and diamante abound alongside baubles and candlelit trees ensuring plenty of yuletide nostalgia.
So often in these large scale shows it’s the set and costume design that steals the show – especially so when Tony and Olivier winning theatre designer Lez Brotherston is involved. He once again works his magic here, bringing opulence, grandeur and exquisite delicacy, while encapsulating the essence of the period.
This is a wonderful show for children in particular, not least as it features child performers who spend a great deal of time on stage. It’s no mean feat at a tender age to appear in a high profile product in a major theatre, acting a role(s) convincingly, remembering complex choreography and blocking all at times that run past the average child’s bedtime. Selected from the Scottish Ballet’s Associate Programme, these young dancers don’t miss a beat and provide another layer of charm to the production, something that’s a credit to both the individuals, the teachers and mentors.
It’s hard to find fault with a production such as this, especially with an ending that even has us all audibly gasping (in a good way of course). It lives up to every expectation of what a Christmas ballet should be and for those who enjoy watching dance – even just a little bit – this proves to be a wonderfully magical experience, suitable for all the family.
Photo courtesy of Andy Ross.
For more information and tickets for The Nutcracker click here.