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I'm copying this over from today's Links, just so I can say that I love the Loie Fuller line!

Clement Crisp goes to the Royal Ballet's Nutcracker.

"Christmas", some dolt said to me, "would not be the same without The Nutcracker". Nor without mauve plush teddy bears, disgusting chocs, and the umpteenth repeat of a Morecambe and Wise show on the idiots' lantern. But faithful even unto satiation, I report on London's third Nutcracker of the season.

This Covent Garden Nutcracker — Peter Wright's decade-old staging, with Julia Trevelyan Oman's charming designs, as given by the Royal Ballet — is the best of the lot. I loved it rather more some years ago, when Drosselmeyer was still portrayed as a serious and benevolent figure. Latterly he has been re-dressed, and now looks and behaves like your uncle who decided to come out as a drag queen. So, swishing about the stage with a repertoire of feebly managed conjuring tricks and the belief that he is Loie Fuller, Herr Drosselmeyer romps with the young, and I wish he would stop. (As played by John Auld and Stephen Jefferies in earlier seasons, he was a dominant and splendid figure. Now he is an obtrusive bore.)

The version is, otherwise, welcome, honourable (Ivanov's original choreoraphy is allowed to surface some of the time), and beguiling.

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