I knew I was in for a treat with this performance, as greeting us in the foyer was not only the Nutcracker soldier himself but the passionate musicians who were campaigning to continue with live music in the performances. They were exceptional and it would be terrible if in the future we lost that magical pit of musicians too.
Straight away The Nutcracker transported us to a magical German forest as we waited for the show to start. It would be difficult to choose one stand out performer but Rachael Gillespie who played young Clara just glided along the stage with such delight and enthusiasm. She was perfect for the role!
Uncle Drosselmeyer performed by Harry Skoupas had the right balance of mystery and magic. His toy creations were so clever. Next, a big shout out has to go to the mice. They were suitably mischievous and Bruno Serraclara who played the Mouse King was hilarious with his repertoire of less conventional dance moves.
The first act finished with the mesmerising dance of the Snowflakes. I felt I must have jinxed the snow that landed in Leeds that night as I kept saying how much I enjoyed that dance!
In Act 2 the visual delights continued and we saw a range of dances from all over Europe. Again, it was difficult to pick a favourite but the Cossacks provided lots of energy and fun. I’m still dizzy thinking about the Sugarplum Fairy. Dominique Larose was exceptional. Such grace and control and that iconic music makes this extra special to watch. I’m not ashamed to say I felt a bit tearful when the magical dream ended. Or was it?
The Nutcracker is highly recommended and the perfect start to the Christmas season.
Northern Ballet is delighted to be bringing our production of The Nutcracker back to Leeds Grand Theatre from the 29 November – 10 December.
Reviewed by Sophie Bentley