By Julie Wallis twitter.com/nicenic63
The Nutcracker, Birmingham Royal Ballet
I was sent by #Brumhour for my first ballet experience last night and I loved it. The Nutcracker, performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet, is at Birmingham Hippodrome until 13th December.
A little girl called Clara who receives a gift of a Nutcracker doll from magician Drosselmeyer. Clara’s parents host a splendid party and all the children receive gifts, Drosselmeyer entertains everyone with magic and then after the party, Clara comes downstairs, falls asleep and her dreams come to life.
Act one, the party tells a story and so much story unfolds with not a word being spoken. The set is beautiful, a rich red drawing room, with a huge Christmas tree, a fireplace and a sweeping staircase. The party guests arrive and greet the hosts, gifts are given and received, a small child is admonished for not saying thank you for his gift, can you even imagine how that is acted out without using words? It’s beautiful, elegant and possibly the most theatrical storytelling I have ever seen. Drosselmeyer the magician comes to the party and performs magic for the guests. Then Clara really does shrink right before your eyes and again it’s wonderfully theatrical.
Act two is completely different. Although act one has a lot of dance, act two is where the Suger Plum Fairy dances, and is much more like the ballet I always thought ballet was like, when I imagined what ballet was like . The now shrunken Clara opens act two by flying in on a Swan! I never expected so many special effects in ballet. I expected tutus, tights, girls on their toes and men who made lifts look easy.
I’d never considered the story would be so well acted and easy to understand. I had always imagined ballet to be more of a metaphorical storytelling. The men in tights, the Sugar Plum Fairy, tutus and every ballet move I had ever imagined, they all happen in act two.
The Nutcracker was everything I had ever hoped for. Watching the dancers who made everything look so effortless and elegant I realised they are elite athletes. Some of the dance moves made me gasp as they are literally wow moments, I had goosebumps up my arms at other times, it was a night of a hundred emotions. The story was so beautifully told, the special effects were amazing, the music was wonderful, the outfits were stunning and the entire night was magical.
When Clara is in the winter wonderland at the start of act two, Drosselmeyer shows her dancers from all around the world. Russians, Arabian, Chinese, Spanish and then the Sugar Plum fairy. There is also the dance of the Dew Drop Fairy and the dance of the flowers. If you think Strictly on a Saturday night is entertaining, as I do, then The Nutcracker will blow you away.
The Nutcracker is so very Christmassy, it’s a perfect treat and would be a lovely Christmas gift for someone who is difficult to buy for. If you don’t have a chance to see The Nutcracker this time around, I did notice that tickets for 2018 are already available.
If you have ever found yourself wondering “I think I’d like to go to the ballet, but would I really enjoy it?” then The Nutcracker is the perfect introduction. There were some young children in last nights audience and the program even has a child friendly synopsis although it does recommend the show for over 5s what a wonderful start to the Christmas season taking the family to see this spectacular ballet would be.
The Nutcracker with Birmingham Royal Ballet is at Birmingham Hippodrome until 17th December. Book tickets here: brb.org.uk/whats-on/event/the-nutcracker-2017
#BrumHour arranged for Julie to see The Nutcracker with thanks to Birmingham Royal Ballet. This isn’t a sponsored post. Julie was DESPERATE to for her first live ballet experience after seeing the Opera at Birmingham Hippodrome.