Review: The Nutcracker @ London Coliseum
It is safe to say there are more than a handful of Nutcracker productions being simultaneously performed around the country, so how do you even begin to decide which one to attend this Christmas?
Ballet, contemporary and modern twists are heavily featured throughout the various show’s listings, leaving every theatregoer inundated with choice of style, venue, and atmosphere. I can’t think of anything more Christmassy than a timeless production of The Nutcracker, and last night I paid a visit to the London Coliseum to see the fantastic English National Ballet dancers sparkle to their hearts’ content.
What should I expect?
In a nutshell, the show completely dazzled me. If you want diamantes, frolics and spectacular effects then this version of The Nutcracker is for you. Wayne Eagling has produced yet another outstanding production which was neither too childlike for the adults nor too far removed for the many children in the audience who were completely enthralled.
Humour ran throughout the fast-moving plot and images of many family Christmases were reflected in Eagling’s precise choreography and the immense technical skill of the dancers. The Mouse King, danced by James Streeter, was particularly outstanding in his intense portrayal of his fight with the Nutcracker, and Elena Glurdjidze completed embodiment Clara’s passion and devotion to the Nutcracker. Eagling utilised the backdrop of snowy Edwardian London which perfectly complemented the festive tale alongside Tchaikovsky’s famous score. The audience was taken on a hot air balloon ride across the London skyline to The Land of Snow and then beyond to the magical Puppet Theatre where more talent and precision were waiting. Such talent continued throughout the evening through the dancers’ additional roles created from so many corners of the world, providing even more Christmas excitement. The Mouse King was, of course, eventually vanquished in this perfect happily-ever-after tale.
Do I need to know anything about dance?
Not at all. The pure beauty of the dancers will whisk you away on a sparkling adventure to The Land of Snow, suspending disbelief in such a classic Christmas production.
It might be worth noting, however, some of the impressive facts and figures that add the background of this magical version of The Nutcracker. For example, there are 400 Swarovski elements sewn onto each of the nine Sugar Plum Fairy costumes, with the value of these amounting to approximately £10,000 in total, generously donated to the company. That’s a lot of diamantes! Each Sugar Plum Fairy costume requires over £2000 of man hours and fabric, which reminds the audience that behind this superb interpretation of the classic story lays the rest of the team that placed the show on stage.
How much will it cost?
Tickets at the London Coliseum range from £10-£67 to making English National Ballet’s Nutcracker extremely accessible to Christmas budgets.
Wayne Eagling’s The Nutcracker runs at the London Coliseum until 30 December 2011.
Jessica Wilson TheatreFix Reviewer