Below the Marble Arch, hidden behind the curtains a beautiful show awaits the crowds…
This Post is the 3rd installment of the ENB: Nutcracker series
Why not take the opportunity to be mesmerized as the delicate ballerinas perform whilst listening to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score played live by the ENO in such a beautiful building?
The Nutcracker is a beautiful ballet for new members of the audience to ease themselves into, and whilst I am no aficionado, this review hopes to help those new to ballet, just as much as those who frequent the ENB (or alike!)
The People’s Palace of Entertainment
My early arrival was rewarded with the sound of the orchestra tuning their instruments, ready to play my favourite pieces of Tchaikovsky’s work.
The anticipation for the show builds quickly from the moment you enter the grand auditorium and see the stage surrounded by the adorned walls.
I arrived early before the seats began to fill to give me a chance to wonder though the auditorium and appreciate it’s majesty. It is truly fitting that such a building would house the beauty of ballet performances.
A wintery evening…
The curtains rise to a scene of snow as silence sweeps across the audience…
I was immediately impressed by the opening of the show with the “skating” of guests arriving to the Christmas Party and the use of a screen to lure us into believing it was snowing as children sledged past….
As Act One gets underway, we are taken into Stahlbaum family party, where Drosselemeyer is introduced as a magician capable of many conjuring trick and party games.
The children from Tring Park school for the performing arts are excellent in bringing a child-like excitement to the beginning of the nutcracker, drawing audiences in and reminding us of the magical nature of Christmas from our own Childhoods.
This early embracement of the childhood magic of Christmas time and the apparent magical ability of Drosselmeyer to a child (in this case, to Clara) is key to the delivery of the narrative component of the ballet.
Eagling’s version of the Nutcracker successfully carries the audience from the very real lively Stahlbaum party, into Clara’s dream world that night, where her beloved Nutcracker comes alive ( along with other toys).
A battle with a ferocious Rat King embarks, with exciting & brilliant twists keeping us sitting on the edge of the seats, as his hideous army of rats attack ferociously.
I was further delighted by the Nutcracker’s escape as the Mouse Kind clutched on to the end of Act One…..
Act One ended with an incredible display of talented choreography with the “Waltz of the Snowflakes”, reminding us that this is indeed a young Clara’s dream land as beautiful delicate snowflakes encircle the stage and delicate snow falls amongst them.
As the scene changes to a Winter Wonderland, Clara’s beloved Nutcracker transforms into the young girl’s love interest as Drosselmeyer’s nephew, whom she became besotted with at the party
There can be some confusion as the Nutcracker (who has come to life) and Drosselmeyer’s handsome nephew interchange onwards in the performance, especially as they are played by 2 different actors.
After all, this is a dream & not everything can be too smoothly…. bear this in mind, & embrace the dreamy magical story and you shan’t get too lost focusing on who is who as they interchange.
This Waltz provides a brilliant glimpse of the talent that lies ahead
in the more ballet- focused Act Two, leaving us eagerly wishing the interval away for more!
Arriving into the puppet theatre…
The dream-like nature of Clara’s adventure is truly brought to life as the Hot air ballon lands in the puppet theatre.
The Rat King is vanquished and celebrations begin with Dancers from all around the World, showcasing the ability of ballet to portray contrasting cultures.
The Celebrations continue in Clara’s dream world, with another beautiful waltz but this time, of flowers.
We are invited to immerse ourselves into the magic and delight of a dream-like world as ballet dancers grace the floor with elegant moves and intricately designed costumes.
Like many a young girl, Clara’s romantic nature is embraced as she transforms into the Sugar Plum Fairy as she dances the most spectacular Pas de Deux with her Prince (Drosselmeyer’s nephew).
As Clara’s adventure comes to an end, we too are reminded it was all a dream….
Weren’t we all like Clara once? Dancing with dolls and dreaming of dewdrops?