10 Jan
photo credit to Alistair Muir
A Christmas classic with music that is recognisable by all, the Nutcracker has long held a place in our hearts as one of the most famous ballets. Some characters, such as the Sugar Plum Fairy, have passed into cultural legend and advertisers frequently assail our ears with a multitude of variations on the same four bars, used in almost every TV advert that pretends it’s not playing Christmas music.

However, Matthew Bourne OBE has cast his magic over this classic and turned it into something entirely new and different. Often noted as Britain’s most popular and successful choreographer, Bourne is the only British director to have won Best Direction of a Musical and Best Choreography.

You may recognise his name from the bill of Swan Lake, where instead of the dainty Odette and her accompanying ballerinas, we were presented with male swans, bare chested and in feathery pantaloons. Bourne’s genius is no less apparent in Nutcracker! where Act One starts in a Dickensian orphanage rather than the sumptuous settings of previous incarnations. The pas de deux of the Sugar Plum Fairy has changed – there are four people on stage, and none en pointe. It is different, it is sassy and it is utterly charming. Expect techno colours and cheeky grins!

I shan’t spoil it for you; suffice to say, the plot has changed enough to entice and captivate every audience member from ballet veterans to those who go along for the sake of their date. This irreverent and utterly genius interpretation is not to be missed. There are performances running until the 22nd January at Sadler Well’s Theatre and tickets are still available.


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