Northern Ballet Theatre
Choreographed by David Nixon; music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield and touring
Christmas came early to the Sheffield Lyceum with a snow-sprinkled start to the ever-popular Nutcracker. The high proportion of youngsters in the audience suggested a noisy and disturbed evening - but not at all. Everyone was deeply involved in the spectacle and no sound, other than the music, could be heard. The snow fell, the family gathered to greet their guests, and Herr Drosselmeyer, Darren Goldsmith, produced the magic of the evening. All went smoothly, apart from the conspicuous interference from Grandma Edwards who thought she knew better than everyone else how to organise the evenings, including a lively jig with her husband.
Once in the Land of Makebelieve, the stars were undoubtedly Louise, beautifully danced by Keiko Amemori, whether alone or in partnership with James (Hironao Takahashi) who both belied their conventional English names in the family party, figuring better as The Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.
The battle between the Mouse King and the soldiery was a little inhibited by the limitations of space on the Lyceum stage, but all the other representations, Spanish, Arabian, Chinese, French and Russian, contributed to the sharp rise in temperature so that snow was forgotten. Apart of course from the beautiful corps de ballet, who made many contributions including their snowflake dance, graceful in the swirling clouds.
The ostensible audience, Pippa Moore as Clara and Christopher Hinton-Lewis the Nutcracker Prince, were less relaxed and elegant, whether dancing or viewing, not giving the impression that they were truly enchanted by all they saw. But certainly all the audience were, and I happened to speak to two, one adult and one child whose first experience of ballet this was, and they emphasised that it would not be their last.
At Sheffield until 19th October, then Canterbury (6-10 November) and Leeds (27 November - 8 December)
David Chadderton reviewed this production at The Lowry
Reviewer: Philip Seager