The Nutcracker

Birmingham Royal Ballet

Birmingham Hippodrome


THIS year’s eagerly awaited Nutcracker is a 25th anniversary event that has more than the usual ‘royal’ flavour about it.

So much so that the Prince of Wales, in his capacity as President of the BRB, fills two pages of the official programme – one with his portrait – to welcome audiences to Sir Peter Wright’s ‘magical Christmas production’.

It’s 25 years since the company relocated from the Saddlers Wells Theatre to Birmingham and, Prince Charles recalled, Sir Peter created this exquisite ballet as a gift to the City of Birmingham.

Now the BRB is a jewel in the city’s crown, and this latest production is as fresh, visually beautiful, and oozing skill as it was when it first hit the stage, and even someone who couldn’t tell a ballet shoe from a clog would surely enjoy the spectacle.

The scene on Christmas Eve in the home of Dr Stahllbaum’s lavish home, for instance, is stunning when the Christmas tree grows to a colossal size, the fireplace swivels and a gang of giant rats led by their king (Yasuo Atsuji) charge out ready to fight the troop of toy soldiers who come to life.

But that’s not all, and when the doctor’s 15-year-old dance student daughter, Clara, is transported by the magician, Drosselmeyer, to an amazing world, she sees, and sometimes joins, wonderful characters from many countries in fabulous dances.

Karla Doorbar is a delight as Clara, and there are jaw-dropping performances from Joseph Caley (the Prince), Momoko Hirata (Sugar Plum Fairy), Tzu-Chao Chou (Jack-in-the-box), Celine Gittens (the Rose Fairy) and Jonathan Payn (Drosselmeyer).

And not forgetting the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, conducted by Koen Kessels, who played Tchaikovsky’s music superbly, even earning a standing ovation from one section of the opening night audience.

The Nutcracker runs to 13.12.15

Paul Marston

Festive greetings from BRB 


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