The Nutcracker – Gaiety Theatre – Review by Fran Winston
The Gaiety Theatre, South King Street, Dublin 2
Wednesday 16 – Saturday 19 November, 7.30pm, Saturday 19 November, 2.30pm
The Nutcracker is as much a part of Christmas as It’s a Wonderful Life or the Christmas tree and yet again Ballet Ireland are bringing this classic show to the masses. Kicking off in the Gaiety Theatre before gong on a countrywide tour this is probably one of the most accessible ballets for those who are not fans of the art form. Most people are familiar with the music even if they don’t realise it, as it has been used in adverts and popular shows for decades. Also the themes of Christmas and fantasy is something that everyone can relate to.
The tale itself is a simple one. On Christmas Eve a young girl is given the present of a Nutcracker Doll which she adores. However when midnight strikes she discovers that her toy is magical as he comes to life and leads her into a mysterious fairytale world where she faces the Mouse King and his army and travels to the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets. Even if you think ballet is too high brow or abstract for you, you will be able to follow this.
This particular production doesn’t rely on dazzling effects or lighting. The staging is extremely simple – possibly to accommodate touring – and as a result the focus is very much on the dancing which is wonderful. I have seen numerous productions of this where petite adult dancers play the children in the opening scenes but here they actually do employ some child dancers which adds to the wonder and magic and makes it even more engaging for the children that attend.
While the dancing is sublime and the costumes are beautiful I did feel that the transitions were somewhat clunky. Particularly a rather long reset between the Christmas Party scene and the dream sequence and I have seen this handled much more smoothly. However this is a relatively minor complaint in what is an otherwise lovely production. It isn’t the best Nutcracker I’ve ever seen but it is still wonderful. If you want an antidote to Christmas Panto and enjoy immersing yourslf in a couple of hours of childlike wonder you’ll love this. Not just one for the children, adults should also find this completely magical.
Gaiety Tickets: €26 – €45 (Including booking fees)
Groups – 10% off booking of 10 or more
OAPs – 15% off for OAP’s on all ticket levels on Wed & Thurs with ID
Students – €21 Upper Circle seats, Wed & Thurs, available in person only at box office with ID
Gaiety Theatre, Dublin: Wed 16 – Sat 19 November
Garage Theatre, Monaghan: Tuesday 22 November
Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo: Wednesday 23 November
Draíocht, Blanchardstown: Friday 25 November
Everyman Theatre, Cork: Saturday 26 November
Town Hall Theatre, Galway: Tues 29 & Wed 30 November
Civic Theatre, Tallaght: Thurs 1 – Sat 3 December
Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise: Mon 5 & Tues 6 December
The Helix, Glasnevin, Dublin 9: Thursday 8 December
Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick: Fri 9 & Sat 10 December
Siamsa Tíre, Tralee: Sunday 11 December
Solstice Arts Centre, Navan: Tuesday 13 December
Backstage Theatre, Longford: Wednesday 14 December
glór, Ennis: Friday 16 December
Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny: Saturday 17 December
The Source Arts Centre, Thurles: Sunday 18 December
Dean Crowe Theatre, Athlone: Tuesday 20 December
VISUAL, Carlow: Wednesday 21 December
Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray: Thurs 22 & Fri 23 December