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The Nutcracker - Birmingham Royal Ballet Review

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
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Sensational Ballet Is Perfect Family Treat For Christmas
Seeing Birmingham Royal Ballet's The Nutcracker is like being whisked away into an enchanting dream that you never want to end.

In the lead up to Christmas, this ballet with a wondrous score by Tchaikovsky feels even more magical with its huge Christmas tree, snow storm and dancing toy soldiers.

Nutcracker, Birmingham Hippodrome, Sir Peter Wright
The Nutcracker ballet by BRB is a must-see at Christmas


Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) is performing Sir Peter Wright's 25-year-old celebrated production of The Nutcracker at Birmingham Hippodrome until December 13.

It's a thrill for all ages and a perfect introduction to ballet as it's easy to follow and transports you from a lavish Victorian Christmas party to another world where huge rats fight toy soldiers, Arabian dancers entertain and the Sugar Plum Fairy dances with her prince charming.

From start to finish, there's a cavalcade of lovable characters in this adventure who all make easy work of scintillating choreography. Added to that is the famous and enchanting classical music by Tchaikovsky at his best..

Nutcracker, Birmingham Hippodrome, Sir Peter Wright
Amazing sets and costumes in Birmingham Royal Ballet's The Nutcracker


The story revolves around teenager Clara (Karla Doorbar), who is given a Nutcracker by a magician at a Christmas party and sneaks down in the middle of the night to get him from under the tree.

But in the dead of night, Clara is confronted by the sinister looking magician and reduced into a tiny figure at the bottom of the tree where she must escape the clutches of the King Rat and his minions with the help of her hero, The Nutcracker.

The magnificent set designed by John Macfarlane really come into its own at this point when the decadence of a ruby red Victorian parlour with a 20ft Christmas tree is changed within minutes into the bottom of the tree, and then just as swiftly into a snowy world of fairies and dancing snowflakes. The special effects and scenery are unbelievably breath-taking.

The Nutcracker, Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Christmas show
The Spanish Dance in The Nutcracker by Birmingham Royal Ballet.


The Second Act gives a chance for the dancing to shine as Clara flies on to the stage on a huge goose (yes - that's how wonderful the special effects are) and then meets a host of dancer from countries around the world.

Each of them entertain her with their native dances from Spain, Arabia, China and Russia, and the music alongside these is simply divine. The instantly recognisable notes of the Russian Dance and Dance of the Mirlitons will feel all too familiar as they have been used in many a programme and advert since Tchaikovsky's creation.

The Waltz of the Flowers follows and is one of the highlights of the show with an extraordinary Celine Gittens performing as The Rose Fairy alongside her consorts. It's an exquisite, memorable stand out scene.

Nutcracker, Birmingham Hippodrome, Sir Peter Wright
The Nutcracker is tu-tu good


The finale is saved for several dances between The Sugar Plum Fairy (an excellently precise Momoko Hirata) and The Prince (Joseph Caley) who give an offering of classic ballet in their pas de deux.

Hirata's shimmering sugary pink tu-tu is the stuff of little girl's dreams and is just one of a multitude of lavish costumes featured in this production, which add to its opulence and dream-like quality.

BRB's The Nutcracker never fails to impress and will leave you spellbound. After 25 years, it is still an unmissable spectacular.

Rating: 10/10

The Nutcracker
Birmingham Hippodrome
November 27 - December 13, 2015
2hrs 10mins

Tickets cost from 28. Call 0844 338 5000 or visit the Birmingham Hippodrome website.

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Why? See Ballet At Its Best For A Feel-Good Christmas
When: Until December 13
Phone: 0844 338 5000
Where: Birmingham Hippodrome
Cost: From 28
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