This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour was invited to The Nutcracker by Birmingham Royal Ballet.
By Julie Wallis
Review: Birmingham Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker at Birmingham Hippodrome
It’s the most wonderful time of the year and the most wonderful Christmas performance returns to Birmingham Hippodrome.
Last night I was at The Nutcracker which is here, in Birmingham until 11th December. The Nutcracker epitomises Christmas. It’s magical, it’s vibrant and it’s heart warming.
For those who don’t know, the story begins with a lavish party being hosted by Clara’s parents. The children at the party all receive gifts. Clara is given a nutcracker soldier. All the toys are made by Drosselmeyer who is a maker of magical toys!
After the household is asleep, Clara creeps down to the sumptuous Christmas tree and picks up her nutcracker doll who magically comes to life as a handsome Prince. He whisks Clara away on an adventure which involves fighting rats, dancing sugar plum fairies and flower fairies. When morning comes Clara wakes to find she has had the most wonderful dream….
With music by Tchaikovsky and there are lots of pieces you will recognise (although I’m unsure I will ever forgive Cadbury for ruining Danse de Mirlitons by using it for advertising fruit and nut bar). The music is uplifting, powerful and very emotional. Of course, if you’re a regular reader, you’ll know I have no shame in letting my tears flow. Last night a lot of happy tears leaked from my face. The music really is incredible and beautiful.
The choreography is by Peter Wright, Lev Ivanov, Vincent Redmon, David Bentley and Marion Tait. For most of the production, you will be spoilt for choice as to where to look, although occasionally you will become engrossed in just one single dancer and forget that there is an entire stage full of people, as you are slowly drawn into the magic of ballet.
Everyone on stage is wonderful. If I began name-checking I really could be here all day, especially as this is a huge production with a very large cast. I do have to mention Clara (Reina Fuchigami) who as an adult perfectly captured the magic of childhood. Absolutely believable in her role, she is elegant and sweet, charming to watch. Also, the Prince (Yasuo Atsuji) will take your breath away with his physical strengths, he makes everything look so easy and effortless. He’s also perfectly handsome and ideal in his role. The Sugar Plum Fairy (Karla Doorbar) is everything you think of when you think of ballet dancers. Gracefulness, elegance, poise. She dominates the stage when she’s there and rightly so.
I must mention all the children that were in attendance at the party, so incredibly talented for ones so young. I especially loved the wee boy who made his disappointment for his gift very clear. I’m always blown away by how much is said without a word being spoken. Although that said, Simon Callow does voice Drosselmeyer for a few lines.
The costumes are stunning and I’d really love to take a closer look at them but aside from the music, thanks to the orchestra being upon stage, up high, throughout. The dancing, the lighting for this show is beyond spectacular and a star in itself. I don’t even think a word exists to describe just how beautifully both the stage and the auditorium are illuminated. We both shivered when the snow fell, we marvelled when the Christmas tree grew and there was a definite sharp intake of breathe when we arrived in the snowy forest. I can’t say too much as I’d hate to spoil this amazing, breathtaking, stunningly visually perfect show.
This is an incredibly Christmassy experience and one never to be forgotten. Birmingham Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker is at Birmingham Hippodrome until 11th December. Book tickets here: birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/brb-the-nutcracker-21. Find out more about Birmingham Royal Ballet on their website at brb.org.uk