One of the main reasons that I love Canfields version of The Nutcracker so much is because it's more than a fairly tale. It has a few historical characters (Fabrege, Kschessinskaya), it's historically accurate as far as I know, and it MAKES SENSE!
The things with that I dont understand about the Balanchine Nutcracker and others alike are just this:
Where do the rats in Maria/Clara's dream come from? She just goes to bed on Christmas night and dreams of rats?
What makes this Nutcracker Doll so great that it becomes her prince in her dream?
Who is this Snow Queen and cavalier? Where do they fall into the picture?
who is Dewdrop? Why is she dancing what is her purpose?
Why, besides the fact that kids like candy, is Clara taken to the land of Candy?
Who is this Sugar plum Fairly person? Who made her the ruler of Candyland?
I know that The Nutcracker is deemed a holiday favorite for families because it's great for kids. But, kids are not stupid, it can be exciting, intelligent, and make sense.
Here is where Canfields version corrects some of the problems and story gaps in some of the more well known productions.
Marie gets scared by her unruley brother who brings a dead rat out on a platter for her as a present. Little does she know, it's a dead rat under that cover and Peter plans to chase her with it when it is revealed.
Fabrege, Marie's godfather brings his nephew, Marius a cadete in the Russian army to the Christmas party to be introduced to Marie's older sister Alexis(?). When Marie sees Marius she is instantly taken by him, a crush ensues and he becomes the nutcracker prince in her dream.
In the party scene, Marie's parents present to her, as her Christmas present, ballet lessons from Matilda Kshesinskaya. In Marie's eyes she is the most beautiful talented person. Hence, she becomes the Snow Queen, Lily of the Valley(dewprop), and the Sugar Plum Fairy in Marie's dream.
Marie is taken on a magical trip throughout the seasons by the Nutcracker Prince (Marius), who then surprises Marie with a trip to the Mariinsky Theatre, where the stars of the Ballet dance a divertissement of styles from around the world.
In the grand pas de deux at the end, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her mysterious, unexplained cavalier do not dance, rather Marie and the Nutcracker Prince dance in gratitude, cementing...that dreams can and do come true.
Sorry I get a little worked up