The Nutcracker

Playhouse, QPAC (Queensland Ballet)


Teri Crilly is simply magnificent in the lead role of Clara in this compelling production! She brings to the stage all the wondrous, childlike delight of this traditional Christmas tale.

The Queensland Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker infuses this familiar Christmas tale with a sense of discovery. It bubbles with the drama of the King Rat (Emilio Pavan), the Sugar Plum Fairy (Sarah Thompson) and a wooden nutcracker toy (Shane Wuerthner) magically transformed into a handsome Prince (Hao Bin).

Tchaikovsky composed the music in 1893 towards the end of his life. It followed his lengthy tour of the United States. It is a score to which hundreds of thousands of young would-be ballerinas have twinkled their training toes. It speaks in the universal language of childhood of the triumph of good over evil.

Choreographed by Ben Stevenson in 1976 this production was first performed by the Houston Ballet in Texas in 1987, and by the Queensland Ballet in 2013. This year the party scene in Act 1 is set in a farmhouse instead of the typical palace. Humour plays a role to keep the mood less formal. Then, lo and behold, the house is transformed into the sparkling Land of Snow. In Act 2 we journey to the Kingdom of Sweets with the Sugar Plum Fairy and dances from the four corners of the earth.

Happiness can be a hard nut to crack but this fine ballet brings us a beautiful, happy ending suffused with the optimism of youth.

Choreographer: Ben Stevenson
Music: Composed by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky played by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Mogrelia and featuring the Voices of Birralee
Set designer: Thomas Boyd
Costume design: Desmond Heeley assisted by Noelene Hill
Lighting designer: David Walters
Lighting re-created by Cameron Goerg
Running time: two hours with one 20 minute interval
Performances from 12-23 December 2014

— Matt Foley
(Performance seen: Wed 17th December 2014)