I’ve been to see The Nutcracker a few times and it really is a Christmas treat. I was so excited when my friend bought tickets to see Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker. I’m such a huge fan of Matthew Bourne. He takes classics and makes them modern. Maybe not to everyone’s choice but I totally get his humour and love his performances. I have previously been to see Cinderella (set in World War II) Romeo + Juliet (set in a mental institute) The Red Shoes and now the wonderful sweetie delight of Nutcracker.
The only downside was that my friend tested positive for Covid the day before we were due to go and I was devastated. Star stepped in to be my partner and she had such a good time. I did miss my friend though. The good news is, she should be well enough to attend the next ballet we have tickets for, Don Quixote.
Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker
Some people say you shouldn’t mess with the classics, but I loved Matthew Bourne’s interpretation of the Nutcracker. It wasn’t very Christmassy which is good seeing as we saw it in February. It did start with the usual Christmas party scene but instead off a huge tree there was tiny one in a box and it was sent in a orphanage rather than a posh family home. The Nutcracker was some weird looking puppet. It still follows the plot to a degree, Clara the young girl who receives the Nutcracker toy, has it broken by one of the other children, and then fixed again. At midnight the Nutcracker comes to life and Clara follows him to a land of sweets. But there was no battle or mouse king.
Before getting to the land of sweets they have to cross the Frozen Pond where we have the Waltz of the Snowflakes, the most enchanting ending to act I. Of course Matthew Bourne had to make this his own, so the dance was done in a skating fashion. It started with the dancers on the stage with one leg raised behind them like they were skating, and to give the impression that they were skating fast, a wind machine was used. It was actually really funny to watch. The rest of the dance was really mesmerising, just like the original.
The Sweet Performance
In the original performance, Clara travels to a fantasy land and is impressed by series of dances. Matthew Bourne interprets these as sweets, the doorman to the party being a Humbug. We had liquorice allsorts, marshmallows (Sugar Plum fairies), knickerbocker Glory and Gobstoppers who did the Trepak. They were my favourite so I’m embedding a short video. They also had the biggest cheer from the audience at the end of the show.
The Paux De Deux was really romantic, so romantic it was sweetly sick and corny. I do love Matthew Bourne’s humour (have I said that before.) It’s subtle but so good.
After all the excitement of Sweet Land Clara found herself back in the orphanage. But it ended well as she and the Nutcracker made their flee for freedom using a sheet through the window.
The music is all the traditional Tchaikovsky classics that we all know and love and the story has similarities to the Nutcracker but with a modern twist. It’s certainly a night of entertainment you won’t forget in a hurry and the dancing is amazing.
Here is the trailer for the show: