Nutcracker: English National Ballet, London Coliseum
That hardy perennial of Christmas ballets, The Nutcracker, makes its annual sojourn at the Coliseum courtesy of the English National Ballet
Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without an English National Ballet Nutcracker, and so it is that director Wayne Eagling's idiosyncratic version of the ballet (minus the definite article) will once again take over the Coliseum for the duration of the festive season.
The Nutcracker, with its glorious Tchaikovsky score, has been around for well over a century; and with literally hundreds of versions of the ballet simultaneously playing to enthusiastic audiences on both sides of the Atlantic (not to mention the antipodes) every Christmas, it's inevitable that a variety of versions of the original story should have appeared.
The basics of the story are well-known. At a Christmas Eve family party somewhere in Central Europe, a little girl, Clara is given a wooden nutcracker by her enigmatic godfather, the magician Dr. Drosselmeyer. She dreams the nutcracker, or maybe her handsome older cousin, leads her to a magic wonderland, where she witnesses a variety of dances, before waking up back in her bed on Christmas Day.
The little girl's dreams create Arabian, Spanish, Chinese and Russian dances, and waltzing flowers mixed with nightmares of beastly rats engaged in a prolonged battle with toy soldiers, whose leader looks uncannily like Clara's naughty brother.
Last Christmas, Culture Whisper gave the performance three stars. There is more than enough ballet dancing to charm both adults and the children for whom Nutcracker is a much longed for Christmas treat, and to gloss over some narrative problems.
To accompany the mesmerising dancing, the ENB Philharmonic delivers Tchaikovsky's score with feeling and assurance.
|What||Nutcracker: English National Ballet, London Coliseum|
|Nearest tube||Charing Cross (underground)|
14 Dec 2016 – 07 Jan 2017, Also at 2:30pm on some dates
14 Dec 2016 – 07 Jan 2017, 19:30 many matinees, times vary
|Website||Click here to book via the ENB website|