The Nutcracker

Lyric Theatre, QPAC (Queensland Ballet)

This much-loved Christmas ballet is brought to life by the stunning performance of Teri Crilly (pictured) in the lead role of Clara. Crilly shines not only with  technical prowess but also with  the wonder of youth.

The world of ballet will always be indebted to the 19th century musical genius of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. His brilliant and familiar music expresses the joy of childhood and its worlds of exotic imagination. The Queensland Symphony Orchestra play Tchaikovsky with beauty and passion.

At a family Christmas party, Clara’s brother Fritz  (Kihiro Kusukami) is engaging in a spot of sibling rivalry, generating mayhem amidst the merriment.

Enter the mysterious Dr Drosselmeyer (strongly danced by Jack Lister) with a special gift for Clara, a wooden Nutcracker. In a jealous fit, Fritz breaks it. Never fear, Dr Drosselmeyer fixes it up. All’s well, the guests leave and the family retire for the night.

At the stroke of midnight Clara awakens to an attack by giant mice! Fortunately an heroic Nutcracker (Alexander Idaszak) comes to her rescue with a platoon of life-sized toy soldiers. The King Rat (Vito Bernasconi) attacks the Nutcracker but  Clara (the irrepressible Teri Crilly) disposes of the assailant with a deft blow from her shoe, thus providing dramatic evidence of the case for women in combat positions.

Miraculously, the Nutcracker transforms into a handsome prince as snow flakes fall on dancers and audience alike. Clara and her Nutcracker Prince depart for the Kingdom of Sweets.

In the second act, child-like images of exotica swirl about the stage as Tchaikovsky’s haunting melodies take us through the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Waltz of the Flowers, the Dance of the Miritons and dances from Spain, Arabia and China. Lina Kim and Joel Woeliner do a splendid pas de deux as Arabian dancers.

After the celebrations Clara drifts off to sleep. She awakens from her dreams as the Nutcracker salutes his Princess Clara.

Many children were present and on the edge of their seats at the performance seen by your reviewer. The ballet is a wondrous delight for children and, indeed, for anyone with a pulse.

Choreographer: Ben Stevenson OBE
Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor of Queensland Symphony Orchestra: Nigel Gaynor
Choir: St Peters Lutheran College
Set designer: Thomas Boyd
Costume designer: Desmond Heeley
Lighting designer: David Walters
Performances 8-16 December 2017
Running time: 2 hours with one 20-minute interval

— Matt Foley
(Performance seen: Sat 9th December 2017)

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