It may be January and the Christmas season is fast becoming a distant memory, but Scottish Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker was able to revive everything that’s great about the festive period. The opening night at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre brought some genuine fun and joy into a New Year which, given the current weather, is short on points to celebrate. The masses who had ventured out in the freezing temperatures to see The Nutcracker certainly were not disappointed.
The Nutcracker originally premiered at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre in 2003 and was Ashley Page’s first full-length narrative ballet. The days where the ballet’s leading role was filled by dancers outside the Scottish Ballet company are now long gone. And the ascension of Scottish Ballet under Page’s directorship is irrefutable. Five articulated lorries are needed to transport the set for The Nutcracker, making it the largest of any of Scottish Ballet’s productions; the Nutcracker is without doubt a fine advert for what a huge impact inspired design, courtesy of Antony McDonald in this case, can make to a ballet.
A few audience murmurings regarding the lack of the Sugar Plum Fairy weren’t enough to distract from Page’s bold and often surreal interpretation of The Nutcracker. Poppy flowers, maids with chamber pots on their heads and a blue velvet clad clockmaker are just some of the beautiful and quirky touches this interpretation of The Nutcracker offers. The fantastic Grand Pas de Deux, performed wonderfully by principals Claire Robertson and Erik Cavallari, brings The Nutcracker’s final scene to an elevating close. Though there’s still opportunity with the epilogue as the medium for Page and McDonald to create one final picture-perfect moment.
Scottish Ballet’s The Nutcracker is as fresh and uplifting now, as it was just over 5 years ago. A fine production and a fitting way to end a milestone season for Scottish Ballet.
Tickets are still available for Scottish Ballet’s The Nutcracker:
- Edinburgh Festival Theatre until Saturday 9th January 2010. Evenings 7.30pm. Matinee on the 9th at 2.30pm. Telephone: 0131 529 6000 or book on the Internet
- Eden Court Theatre Inverness Wednesday 20th - Saturday 23rd January 2010
- His Majestyâ€™s Theatre Aberdeen Wednesday 27th - Saturday 30th January 2010