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Review: The Nutcracker at the Journal Tyne Theatre

THE little girl in her tutu was waiting for Christmas magic to begin as the curtain went up on the State Ballet Academy of Minsk’s show.

The Nutcracker performed by the State Ballet Academy of Minsk
The Nutcracker performed by the State Ballet Academy of Minsk

THE little girl in her tutu was waiting for Christmas magic to begin as the curtain went up on the State Ballet Academy of Minsk’s show.

But as the lights went down, I suspect she was still waiting.

Act one opened with unadventurous scenery and costumes that dazzled about as much as a two-pence piece.

The styling lacked co-ordination and struggled to maintain any kind of impact on the audience.

Act two wasn’t much better. The best scene by far was the snowstorm. It was everything you want from a ballet – a sea of white tutus.

It was sequenced to perfection under a fall of fake snowflakes. However, as the lead pair took centre stage they far from melted hearts. Their romance was not believable and often uncomfortable.

There were moments where the expression of the ‘handsome prince’ resembled that of someone trying to get toffee out of their teeth with their tongue.

The well-known story – of a young girl’s visit to the sugar plum fairy’s realm of sweets accompanied by her toy that has come to life as a prince in her dream – has been told many times and unless it builds to an electric moment that captures its every emotion, it can fall flat.

There were some fantastic lifts, leaps and technical footwork but, each time, the audience was left waiting for a moment that never arrived.

Instead of capturing the magic of a child’s romance with Christmas, the show felt more like a turkey sandwich on Boxing Day.

As for our little girl in the pink tutu, well there will be other Nutcrackers and Christmas isn’t here yet.

 

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