English National Ballet’s Nutcracker at Liverpool Empire
On the coldest night of the year so far (apparently), we had the enormous pleasure of going to see the English National Ballet’s Nutcracker.
I must start by saying I am slightly biased, having done ballet from age 4 – 18, but even those new to Ballet couldn’t help but be blown away by this performance. For those who haven’t seen the Nutcracker, it’s a beautiful story set on Christmas Eve. Clara’s family is having a party and all the guests bring presents – one of which is a Nutcracker Doll for Clara. Unfortunately her brother, Freddie, breaks the doll in his excitement, but Dr Drosselmeyer manages to mend it. Clara then goes to bed, but has a nightmare where her Nutcracker is attacked by the evil Mouse King. This sets the scene for all the various dolls and puppets coming to life to perform the most amazing dances concluding with the legendary dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Clara awakes and realises it’s all been a dream.
Everything about this production was superb. The set was delightful, with an outdoor scene, which I haven’t seen before, of everyone arriving for the party and skating outside. The ballroom as always is decorated beautifully and provides the perfect backdrop.
The dancing was sublime. Laurretta Summerscales was simply beautiful to watch, in fact all the dancing just took you to another place. The music accompaniment was faultless and mention must be made to students from Tring Park School who performed various roles including singing.
Credit must also be given to the costume designers, I think any little girl would adore any of the female costume on show but the costumes for the snowflakes and the Sugar Plum Fairy (which alone requires over £2,000 worth of man hours and fabric) were just stunning.
I defy anyone who goes to watch this not to have goose bumps and feel all Christmassy when they leave. I can’t recommend it enough.
If you are taking young children, it might be a good idea to explain about the Mouse King before going in! When it first appears it may be a little scary (as it’s such a good costume) but if you explain that the Nutcracker and his soldiers defeat him and it’s all just a dream, hopefully you can all sit back, relax and really, really enjoy it.
On a final note; I noticed in the programme that English National Ballet has a great production for little ones coming up. It’s called “My First Ballet: Cinderella” and is on Nationwide from 6 April – 27 May, featuring at the Liverpool Empire 5-6 May. Get you tickets booked now, if this was anything to go by it will be a great treat for your little ones.
NB: We were invited to review The Nutcracker as guests of the Empire but all views and opinions are our own.