Birmingham Royal Ballet; Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Peter Wright, Lev Ivanov, Vincent Redmond
Runs 2h 15m, one interval, Birmingham Hippodrome to 13 December 2015
Booking: 0844 338 5000
Review: Alexander Ray Edser, 27 11 15
A seasonal treat.
NUTCRACKER is a regular welcome treat at BRB’s home, the Birmingham Hippodrome. The ballet was conceived to show off the talents of a dance company and the light-weight story is a gossamer thread used to tie together a series of delightful set piece dances.
A large ensemble of skilled dancers is required to present the full range of character dances (at least one of which is now uncomfortably stereotypical) and more traditional classical ballet. Many in the audience know what is coming up, indeed wait for it; BRB manage never to disappoint.
As Clara, the young woman at the centre of the story, Karla Doorbar is totally engaging. She is always graceful but never forgets to embody the joy and naiveté of youth. It is a real pleasure to watch her joining in the dances in Act II, we easefully share her sense of exhilaration. And how everyone loves Clara’s goose-back ride through the air.
Momoko Hirata and Joseph Caley perform the Sugar Plum Fairy and The Prince. They bring great warmth to their dances building expertly to the Grand pas de deux. Hirata never loses her connection with us throughout and Caley, exuding strength and speed, is amazingly light. The two are marvellous together.
There is just one element which dulls the great delight of this evening. There are sections of the ballet, for instance, but by no means only, the Rats-Soldiers sequences, which are too dark to easily see what’s going on. A Finn, the lighting designer, would appear to be more interested in the effect he is creating than in lighting the dancers. Pity.
Nevertheless, BRB’s NUTCRACKER is a splendid cracker to open up the festive season.