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Review: The Notcracker, Dance City

WELL, as the title makes clear, this isn’t The Nutcracker. Another thing it isn’t, is boring.

WELL, as the title makes clear, this isn’t The Nutcracker. Another thing it isn’t, is boring. Just what it is, however, is hard to sum up.

By turns bizarre, surreal and very funny, New Art Club’s – aka Tom Roden and Pete Shenton – answer to the panto season asks a lot of questions and certainly makes you think.

Onto a set stacked with wrapped gifts gyrate Pete and Tom to the tune of Jingle Bell Rock, with their special brand of comedy dance theatre.

Served by a flipchart, a few songs, words of wisdom, and more dance moves – some befitting The Young Ones, some quite beautiful – they question the meaning of Christmas.

Slipping in and out of characters – trainee angel James and experimental dance theatre duo Damien and Tracy – they come up with their own story.

The stream of consciousness takes in Nintendo Wii; a sleeping bag dance; a description of God which sounds “like Santa in a summer outfit” – and plenty more in a similar vein.

When one of the wrapped presents reveals itself to have arms and legs, we meet The Ghost of Christmas Present, who’s out to ruin everything. Themes of greed and love are in there, too. If you lose your way, fear not: they do flipchart catch-ups.

It’s aimed at 10 years-plus but there were babies too in yesterday’s audience – though I’m not sure if their mothers took to the message that new life is not as good as a new bike. It’s all quite mad, and an absolute breath of fresh air.

The next performance is at 1pm today with a final one at 7.30pm tomorrow. Call (0191) 261 -0505 or visit www.dancecity.co.uk.

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