Scottish Ballet returns to the Festival Theatre Edinburgh for their traditional Christmas offering, and this year it’s the most Christmassy of all ballets – The Nutcracker.
This production of The Nutcracker is a superb tribute to Scottish Ballet’s Founder Director/Choreographer, the late Peter Darrell, who choreographed it in 1973, and who was one of the few to actually have children dancing the parts of children, with proper dances choreographed especially for them.
From the opening minutes, with snow falling outside the doors which then open onto a sumptuous Victorian drawing room on Christmas Eve, the whole show is entrancing and magical. The story and much of the music is well known to many, but to summarise it centres around Clara, a young girl who is given a nutcracker doll as a present at her family’s Christmas Eve party by a mysterious magician, Drosselmeyer. After the excitement of the party, Clara falls asleep and dreams of a magical land where the doll comes to life as a handsome prince, giant mice scurry around and battle with toy soldiers, and the Snow Queen takes her to the Land of Sweets, where she meets the Sugar Plum Fairy and a whole host of colourful dancers from many lands.
All of the dancers in this production are wonderfully talented, but a special mention has to go to the Scottish Ballet Associates, the Nutcracker Children – Jack Burns, Iana Phillips, Roisin Gallagher, Grace McGinley, Olive Swan, Charlie O’Rourke, Archie Anderson, and tonight’s Clara, Lily Wearmouth. Perhaps one or more of them will go on to become a Principal Dancer like Christopher Harrison, who as a young boy played Fritz, one of the children.
The absolute outstanding moment tonight for me and, judging by the cheers and applause, for most of the audience, was the pas de deux danced by Christopher Harrison as the Nutcracker Prince and Sophie Martin as the Sugar Plum Fairy. It was exquisitely beautiful, technically perfect, and Sophie Martin as always almost seems to be weightless and is totally convincing as an ethereal fairy.
All in all, Scottish Ballet once again provides a perfect Christmas night out for all ages
Review by Lisa Sibbald