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The Nutcracker (1968)

TV Movie  -   -  Music  -  10 March 1968 (UK)
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Credited cast:
Merle Park ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Geoffrey Cauley ...
Chinese Dancer
Michael Coleman ...
Spanish Dancer
Lesley Collier ...
Shepherd Dancer (as Leslie Collier)
Leslie Edwards ...
Alexander Grant ...
Arabian Dancer
Carole Hill ...
Shepherd Dancer
Stanley Holden ...
Ronald Hynd ...
Russian Dancer
Ann Jenner ...
Betty Kavanagh ...
Gerd Larsen ...
Grandmother / Arabian Dancer
Keith Martin ...
Fritz / Chinese Dancer
Kenneth Mason ...
Chinese Dancer


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10 March 1968 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

Several dancers who play more than one role in this production are credited for playing only one role, while others are credited for playing several roles. See more »


Version of The Nutcracker (1985) See more »


The Nutcracker
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Conducted by John Lanchbery
See more »

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Wonderful dancing, choreography and orchestral playing, rather drab production values
12 September 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I have always been enchanted by ballet, and The Nutcracker has always been one of my absolute favourites. I love the magical story and especially Tchaikovsky's gorgeous music. Several productions have captivated me like the 1989, 1985, 1977, 2001, 2009 and 1994 productions, and seeing as this 1968 performance was Rudolf Nureyev I was expecting great things.

There is much to love about this Nutcracker, but at the same I was a little disappointed. The lighting and especially the sets look rather dark and grim, for a rather festive story it seemed almost nightmarish. I personally would have preferred brighter and more Christmassy-looking colours, especially in Act 2 which is often magical but too drab here. This was further accentuated by the scene with the mice, which is too menacing and with the tearing and clawing of Clara's dress it was almost like an attempted rape. I guess that's not quite what Nureyev intended, but it just came across this way to me, the mice should be intimidating but I think that was taken to extremes here.

However, I thought the costumes were nice. But it was in the musical and dancing values where the performance really excels. The orchestral playing sparkles with lushness, power and pathos, while the conducting is perfectly judged in tempo, the Trepek and March are efficient in speed and the Pas-De-Deux is alive to nuances. The choreography, apart from with the mice is impeccable, especially the mirroring technique in the Grand Pas-De-Deux that is very effective and very Rudolf Nureyev. I also liked the idea to have the divertissements danced by various people in Clara's life, if it was to show that she was dreaming about them it was a very interesting touch. The dancing is very skilled and danced with emotion. Merle Park handles the difficult choreography with ease with no arm or leg gestures out of place, she is more convincing as a ballerina than as a young girl, but actually I've found that true of most Claras. Rudolf Nureyev is well and truly in his element in his best years, and his Prince is handsome and very masculine, his dancing is done with perfect lines too. I wasn't so sure about his Drosselmeyer though, I thought it would have worked better with somebody older, then again I may be alone in that notion.

Overall, slightly disappointing but marvellously danced and some interesting choreography. 7.5/10 Bethany Cox

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