Nutcracker at Coliseum offers 'fairy dust and wonderment'

Dec 17, 2012

Dancers Vadim Muntagirov and Daria Klimentova excel themselves in English National Ballet production

What you need to know
A production of perennial Christmas favourite The Nutcracker, by the English National Ballet, has opened at the London Coliseum. The romantic fairy tale is set to a Tchaikovsky score featuring Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Waltz of the Flowers.

Set during Christmas Eve, The Nutcracker, is the story of a girl called Clara who falls asleep under a Christmas tree and dreams her toys have come to life. Her beloved toy Nutcracker defends her from the evil Mouse King before becoming a prince.

Wayne Eagling's production, created in 2010, stars Vadim Muntagirov as the toymaker's nephew, the nutcracker and prince and Daria Klimentová as Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Runs until 5 January.

What the critics like
This is a triumph of artistic integrity, with magic, fairy dust and wonderment, says Laura Thompson in The Daily Telegraph. Peter Farmer's designs look divine and the choreography is "driven and dazzling" - the dance of the Snowflakes is "exquisite".

There is "sparkling dancing" in this Nutcracker production, says Zoe Anderson in The Independent. From the stars through to the corps of Snowflakes, "the company dance with warmth and festive spirit".

Muntagirov and Klimentová excel themselves, says Judith Mackrell in The Guardian. Muntagirov is "that prize combination of generous partner and audacious virtuoso", while Klimentová surely dances "the performance of her career".

What they don't like
There are some fine performances, but this Nutcracker is deeply unsatisfying, says Debra Craine in The Times. Mostly it's because Eagling's staging makes this complex story even more complex by giving us two Claras (one young/one old) and three love interests (the nephew, nutcracker and prince). "Good luck keeping up with this one."

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