Dream Cast Crack The Royal Ballet Nut

The Nutcracker, Royal Opera House ★★★★★

By Sam Smith Last edited 77 months ago

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Last Updated 08 December 2017

Dream Cast Crack The Royal Ballet Nut The Nutcracker, Royal Opera House 5
© ROH. Photo: Karolina Kuras

Sir Peter Wright's The Nutcracker started life in 1984 and — despite being rolled out virtually every Christmas since — still feels timeless. There is just as much magic in the version itself as in the glitter that Herr Drosselmeyer sprinkles about, but the real achievement lies in imbuing a relatively plotless work with such genuine human interest.

One can really sense the warmth that is generated as excitable young couple, Clara and Hans-Peter, meet two beautiful, benevolent 'authority' figures (the Prince and Sugar Plum Fairy). Casts do vary, but opening night saw all four dancers generate the requisite dynamic brilliantly. Francesca Hayward as Clara has a fluttering delicacy that brings the otherwise hefty Russian dance (from Act II's Suite) into perfect equilibrium, while Alexander Campbell as Hans-Peter possesses a youthful spring. Steven McRae and Sarah Lamb, in turn, provide a masterclass in elegance, refinement and poise.

The English National Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet versions are still to come (from 13 and 28 December respectively) but London's Nutcracker season could not have got off to a stronger start.

The Nutcracker, Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 9DD, £5-£125, 5 December 2017-10 January 2018