The Nutcracker, (Northern Ballet Tour) New Victoria Theatre | Review

Friday, 11 November 2022

The Nutcracker (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 10th November 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 

Returning to the New Victoria Theatre, Woking after its triumphant run in 2018, Northern Ballet's The Nutcracker is just as magical as ever and a must see this festive season. This enchantingly magical show is brought to life by a stunningly talented cast and completely embodies joy and magic.

David Nixon's choreography makes this a spectacle of a show that fits perfectly on a touring stage whilst still providing a wow factor. Whilst it's not quite as intricate or dark as other productions, it's a real sweet treat that's perfect for all ages and thanks to the talented dancers every step is performed to perfection.

Not a moment of Tchaikovsky's glorious score is wasted in this show, from the overture we are introduced to a number of characters who scurry around the front of the stage preparing the grand house for its Christmas party. Small details are a real feature of this production, especially during Act One when there are multiple engagements and mini plot lines going on between characters. This attention to detail makes it really engaging and makes the whole Christmas party feel incredibly realistic- there's even Grandpa (Wesley Branch) drunkenly falling over!

We're soon introduced to Clara who is played wonderfully by Rachael Gillespie, who's beaming smile and childlike wonder exude from the stage and make the audience share in her joy.  As her Nutcracker Prince, Harris Beattie is dashing to watch and he sparkles on stage like the glitter he was created with. The duo's Pax de Deux against the snowy backdrop is truly magical.

It in Act Two when a lot of the real magic happens, with a number of absolutely breathtaking moments. Perhaps the most magical being the Sugar Plum Fairy (Saeka Shirai) solo and Pax de Deux with her Cavalier (Jonathan Hanks), both of which are completely mesmerising. Despite the stage being filled with opulent sets, the audience can't help but watch only the dancers, and Saeka's solo especially, is a true showcase of ballet at its finest.

As Drosselmeyer Gavin McCaig is mystical and a dream to watch as his magical, glittering cape flows around him. Bruno Serraclara is witty as the Mouse King and each and every soloist is wonderful.

Aside from the dancing, this is a visually and aurally pleasing show. The Northern Ballet Sinfonia do complete justice to the glorious music, and under the baton of Jonathan Lo they sound utterly virtuosic. Charles Cusick Smith's set alongside Mark Jonathan's lighting are a design match made in heaven; perfectly balancing magic and spectacle, whilst also allowing dance to be the star of the show.

The Northern Ballet's production of The Nutcracker is everything you could want in the lead up to Christmas. Enchantment paired with stellar dancing means you'll have a captivating time, whether you're an adult or child.

photo credit: Emma Kauldhar