The Nutcracker – Review – Sheffield Lyceum
The Nutcracker – Review
Sheffield Lyceum, January 2018
by Helen Johnston
Just when we’ve resigned ourselves to being back at work with a long and dreary January ahead of us, along comes something bright and beautiful to whisk us back to the magic of Christmas Eve.
We were transported away from a dark winter’s night to a fantasyland of giant mice and enchanting clockwork toys, as The Nutcracker was brought to joyous life in a swirl of colourful baroque costumes.
It is probably Tchaikovsky’s most familiar ballet and his score was played to perfection by the Hungarian Sinfonietta Orchestra conducted by Vadim Perevoznikov, joining the dancers on stage to well-deserved applause from an appreciative audience.
The story centres on Clara (Natalya Romanova), a young girl who is given the nutcracker doll by her godfather Drosselmeier (Evgeny Silakov), much to the jealous annoyance of her brother Fritz (Anastasiya Chernikova) who breaks it.
“Personality as well as expertise”
Drosselmeier mends the toy and Clara goes to sleep holding it, waking at midnight to enter a dream world in which the Nutcracker (Mikhail Bogomazova) comes to life and does battle with a Mouse King (Dmitriy Popov) and his army of rodents.
The Nutcracker turns into a human prince, danced by the very tall Pyotr Borchenko. His height was a bit of a distraction at times, simply because he towers over everyone else on stage. Act One ends with an atmospheric snow fall as they drift away through the forest.
Act Two takes place in the Land of Sweets, although the scenery didn’t convey this convincingly. A highlight was the parade of dances showcasing cultures from around the world, allowing all the dancers to express personality as well as expertise.
“Hypnotic and beautiful”
This is when Romanova is able to showcase her talent, dancing with grace and precision, every movement executed with perfect fluidity, her smile never faltering. She dances sometimes alone and sometimes with Borchenko, who proves to be a gallant partner, enhancing but never overshadowing her performance.
Finally Clara awakes from her dream with her nutcracker doll still in her arms and the magical journey is over, both for her and for the audience.
One can only imagine the hours of hard work and practise which goes into a ballet such as this and artistic director Marina Medvetskaya is to be congratulated, every dancer’s skill shown off to best advantage.
The hypnotic music and beautiful dancing encourage the audience to enter a soothing dream-like state too. Perfect escapism to beat those January blues.