The Nutcracker – Bord Gáis Energy Theatre – Review


The Nutcracker – Bord Gáis Energy Theatre – Review by Emily Elphinstone

24 Nov 2016 – 26 Nov 2016

Presented by Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet

There’s nothing like a trip to the Theatre to get you in the Christmas spirit, and if you’re looking for something a little classier than screams of ‘It’s behind you!’, then there is nothing that compares to the magic of The Nutcracker (which may explain why this is the second production to grace our shores this month!). This time around it’s the turn of the St Petersburg Classic Ballet, making its Irish debut in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.

It’s a simple premise – On Christmas Eve, after a sumptuous party complete with magician and gifts, little girl Clara dreams that the Nutcracker doll she has been given comes to life as a handsome prince; drawing her into a mysterious world of magical forests, battles against giant mice, and a land of succulent sweets. This may be the world premiere of a new production, but the choreography and Tchaikovsky’s instantly recognisable score remain very much part of the recognisable tradition. The ballet is made even more compelling with its stunning production design (with the exception of the snow machine which was loudly unsuccessful on the first night of the show), and a live orchestra which provides the real heart of the performance.

The dancers are undoubtedly talented, particularly the flawless prima-ballerina who performed the central role of Clara impeccably; but there are moments in which one can sadly see the technique behind the beauty. The ballet is one of the few instances in which it may be preferable to view the performance slightly removed from the front rows, in order to admire the full spectacle; as it is very much an ensemble art. However, the corps de ballet slightly missed out on the synchronized perfection which takes a performance from entertaining to exquisite, and there were instances where steps didn’t land directly on the beat.

Nevertheless, this shouldn’t take away from the delight of watching a live performance of the ballet, and the joy of experiencing this with a full orchestra is a rare thing which should not be missed.

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