Sophia Mucha was a calm and assured young Clara displaying fine musicality and technique. However, Emile Gooding as her brother stole the show with his charismatic turn. He exudes expressiveness and enthusiasm with his antics at the otherwise slightly dour party scene.
Unlike the rest of the production, the party is an unimaginative and bland interpretation, dull in colours and choreography leaving the audience waiting impatiently for the dream sequence to begin. There is no real attention paid to the party games nor to the need to build up a sense of excitement. However, the children from Tring Park School for the Performing Arts are impressively drilled in their segments – they lift the scene and keep the adults on their toes.
Luckily it’s not too long before this production perks up as the clock strikes midnight and Clara enters an entrancing new world.
Shiori Kase is a delicate and warm adult Clara who displays likeable wide-eyed astonishment throughout. She shows great tenderness in the moments with her Nutcracker (Guilherme Menezes) who later transforms into the magician's Nephew (Joseph Caley).
Caley and Kase make for a very sweet and compact partnership, which naturally builds to a climax in the Grand Pas de Deux. Kase performs confidently: the intricate and demanding choreography does not appear to be a stretch for her, although just a touch more extension would really have made her shine. She takes her time to use the sumptuous score effectively, creating a great richness of movement.
Caley is a truly dependable young partner for her – so good, in fact, that following his performance on press night he was promoted to Lead Principal.
Production flaws notwithstanding (will those mice ever go away?), the cast is dripping with talent. Alison McWhinney performed the Mirliton dance with complete charm and faultless musicality. Senri Kou and Tiffany Hedman displayed strong leadership in the Waltz of the Flowers, their smiles never faltering throughout this lengthy and testing section.
As tiresome as those mice are, James Streeter is a fantastic Mouse King who really excels in this comical role, demonstrating witty timing and impressive physicality.
The character dances were perhaps the only disappointment in an otherwise strong second act, most notably in the Arabian Dance which lacked the necessary impact. Headed up by Junor Souza, it was missing the mystique and intrigue the score suggests and never hit its stride.
Overall, the talent within ENB is plain to see and the company perform Eagling’s take on the festive classic confidently. Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score is played exquisitely by the English National Ballet Philharmonic, an asset that undoubtedly enhances what will be a treat for all of the family this Christmas.
Interested in ENB's 2017/18 Season?
|ENB Nutcracker Review
|London Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, , London , WC2N 4ES | MAP
|Charing Cross (underground)
13 Dec 17 – 06 Jan 18, 19:30 Tues 26 Dec 17:00 many mats at 14:30 or 13:00 check website
|Click here to book via the Coliseum website