Whimsical, light-hearted and magical- things you'd imagine any production of The Nutcracker to be
Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker is a great personal favourite for its timeless story, that even today still entertains and enchants, and Tchaikovsky's gorgeous music. The 1989, 2009 and 1985 productions are slightly superior on DVD, but this performance from 1994 will please anybody who loves The Nutcracker. The storytelling is very true in spirit to the story that we are familiar with with the ballet, with some touches here and there that add rather than detract, and has all the light-hearted whimsy and enchantment that makes the story and ballet so appealing. It is a lovely production to look at, while simple and sometimes bare(maybe Act 2 could have had more colour) it still has warmth and an appealingly whimsical look to it and the decor is very nice too. The costumes are equally fanciful, while the lighting is colourful and atmospheric and the video directing captures the drama well and is accommodating to the dancers. The orchestra play Tchaikovsky's score with the sense as though they love it to bits, which is hardly a surprise. It is a beautiful sound they make, and there is plenty of poetry and style there too. Barry Wordsworth's conducting is efficient and musical, allowing the dancers to breathe with him and vice versa and he has the right approach for the music, relaxed and not too heavy.
The choreography dazzles(apart from a couple of out-of-sync moments in the Apotheosis, though not enough to spoil things too much), very traditional but with some touches like in Waltz of the Flowers that show a bit of variety. The Christmas party scene has a very light-hearted and Christmassy feel and the Pas De Deux is exquisite, while the fight between the toys and the rats rouses and frightens and the divertissements are entertaining and done and choreographed with authentic flavour and vigour(the Arabian dance was especially good, very seductive and entirely captivating, and Dance of the Sweets was very charming). The dancing matches the choreography splendidly, with a very well-rehearsed and impeccable Corps-De-Ballet. Miyako Yoshida is one of the best, perhaps even the best, Sugar Plum Fairy on DVD, she is poise, elegance and grace personified in every movement, and there is a real regality, warmth and command to her dancing and acting. Irek Mukhamedov is virile, handsome and powerful as the Prince, as well as being a wonderful dancer he is a very expressive actor. And Sandra Madgwick's Clara is adorable and charming as well as beautiful and youthful. Overall, a truly excellent production. 10/10 Bethany Cox
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?