|Photo: Photography by ASH|
The Nutcracker, English National Ballet, London Coliseum - reviewed on 23rd December
English National Ballet has performed The Nutcracker every Christmas for the last 65 years. Its current version, choreographed by former company director Wayne Eagling, is a seasonal delight, combining Edwardian traditionalism, a clear narrative and sparkling choreography.
The story commences with a family party on Christmas eve, in which young girl Clara is given a nutcracker doll. Later, she dreams the doll comes to life, battles an army of mice and travels with her to a life-size puppet theatre where there are dance performances from around the world. Cleverly, Eagling gives this dream sequence a clear context as Clara’s brother hides a toy mouse in her bedroom at the beginning of the ballet and the Act I party includes a puppet show.
English National Ballet is on excellent form this season, with great performances from all the cast. Cesar Corrales shines particularly in the Russian dance with his effortless spins and sky-high leaps. As the Sugar Plum Fairy, Laurretta Summerscales looks serene and confident, demonstrating great acting ability during the battle scenes and some remarkably rapid fouetté turns. Recent company joiner Alejandro Virelles also excels with his jumps and secure partnering.
The Nutcracker is, for me, an essential part of Christmas, and English National Ballet’s production provides plenty of festive spirit.