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ENB's new Nutcracker

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I saw the matinee performance yesterday of the English National's new production of the Nutcracker. Now I'm no good critic (ballet gives me goosebumps full stop- even not so good performances) but I'll do the best I can to describe it for you :) .

For the first act the set is a biiiiiig colourful story book, which Drosselmeyer changes by turning the 'pages'. The costumes were 'modern', Clara had a red (and I mean red) bob with a hair clip in it, and her friend had a blue bob. At the party the adults were all dressed in colourful outfits, the women with different body extras on, like hips and boobs to make them look curvy, with tight trousers and tops, and 'way out there' colourful wigs! Fritz and the boys were dressed in jeans and t-shirts, the girls in little dresses. My boyfriend thought all this was a bit panto-ish, and didn't like it very much - I did enjoy it, but it was very un-balletic apart from Clara and her friend.

After bed-time and for the rest of the ballet, Clara's costume is a pair of white silk pyjamas!

The battle over the nutcracker involved mice and toy soldiers with toy machine guns (!!), and eventually Clara hits the Mouse King over the head with one of the soldiers boots!

In the second act the backdrop is full of wonderful colourful cupcake 'mountains' with cherries on the top, and the set is like a sweetshop with a couple of oversized sweet shelves. The Sugar Plum Fairy was OK, but I've seen better (in fact I was quite disappointed).

The whole thing was a blaze of colour and it would probably take 2 viewings to see it all - I know I missed stuff. The party was a bit busy with more than one thing going on at the same time and I couldn't take it all in. For me Lisa Probert from the Corps who played Clara and Yat-Sen Chang (Drosselmeyer) stole the show. He was great with the magic tricks for the kids and playing the modern magician. She played her part like she was loving every minute of it, with such childlike joy it was fantastic. On that performance she deserves a promotion!

For me it's a good production - the modernisation has been done well together with the set design, and it kept even the youngest kids enthralled. My friend's 5 year old thought it was the best thing she's ever seen and wanted to see it again straight away! I would definitely see that production again - I'm sorry I waited til the last day because I would have done had I seen it earlier.


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