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Subject: "BRN Nutcracker" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #400
Reading Topic #400
Jim

08-12-99, 01:57 AM (GMT)
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"BRN Nutcracker"
 
   BRB, The Nutcracker, Birmingham Hippodrome 7.12.1999.

"As the dancing reaches its climax the dream-world vanishes and Clara awakens at the foot of the Christmas tree".

Only one word comes to mind to describe Peter Wright's production of The Nutcracker: Magical!. The time since I last saw any version is measured in decade units, and I had completely forgotten what a wonderful ballet this is, and I rarely surfaced from a trance! Tonight's performance was danced with enthusiasm and polish; normally I consider that there are few things more nauseating than children on stage, but these were delightful, natural and unaffected. The Snowflakes were crisp and frosty, and the Second Act divertissment wasn't even boring, with Clara (Carole-Anne Millar) integrating the national items to provide a continuous thread throughout.

Perhaps the most stunning aspect of this production (and I have heard this said elsewhere) is the set. The transformations, especially the enlargement scene and the conversion to ice-land, defy description and have to be seen (that is, if you can get a ticket, the whole run is now fully booked). I have never heard applause just for a set before. Only one thing bugged me a bit - the giant bird which bore Clara into the second act was an ornitholgical nightmare. I think it was supposed to be a swan, but had the head and neck of an ostrich, the body of a swan (maybe), the wings of a crane and the tail of a pheasant. Oh well, I suppose anything goes in fantasy-land.

The principals, Nao Sakuma (Sugar Plum Fairy) and Chi Cao (the Prince) were immaculate in their solo variations, but maybe lacked a little confidence dancing together. Michael O'Hare was a thrilling and convincing Drosselmeyer.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Clara has a key linking role throughout the ballet. I thought Carole-Anne's rendering was terrific. There is a lovely moment near the beginning when the teenager is torn between her dancing-partner (would-be boyfriend?) and her new found Nutcracker toy. She knew when, and how, to steal the show when called for, and how to become unobtrusive when appropriate. And her reaction to waking under the Christmas tree to discover she had been dreaming was an emotional fix if ever I saw one.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  Nutcracker Stephanie Wragg 08-12-99 1
     RE: Nutcracker Kevin Ng 08-12-99 2
     RE: Nutcracker Jim 08-12-99 3
         RE: Nutcracker Anneliese 08-12-99 4
             RE: Nutcracker Jim 08-12-99 5
  RE: BRN Nutcracker alison 09-12-99 6
     RE: BRN Nutcracker Kevin Ng 09-12-99 7
  RE: BRN Nutcracker Trogadmin 13-12-99 8

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Stephanie Wragg

08-12-99, 09:07 AM (GMT)
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1. "Nutcracker"
In response to message #0
 
   Glad to hear that the production is good and that the run is sold-out. I am attending the Saturday night performance, third year in a row (mainly because my husband insists on going!)!

I am especially looking forward to seeing the production this year from the stalls as opposed to the nose-bleed seats I had been getting. As you say, it is indeed magical throughout, never a dull moment. One of my favorite parts is when the tree transforms and the box of toy soldiers becomes life size, as which point the dancer-soldiers emerge to dance their bit, most effective.

As for the bird carrying Clara, it does look bizarre, but it contributes to the magic of the whole evening. Although it gives me the shivers each time to see a dancer so high above the stage is that small contraption....


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Kevin Ng

08-12-99, 10:51 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Nutcracker"
In response to message #1
 
   I saw this BRB production of Nutcracker once last Christmas, when BRB was performing at the Lyceum in London. Pity that they are not doing it in London this season. But in a way, I still prefer Peter Wright's older production for the Royal Ballet, which is revived at Covent Garden this month.


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Jim

08-12-99, 11:56 AM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Nutcracker"
In response to message #1
 
   >it gives me the shivers each time to see a dancer so high above the stage is that >small contraption....

Yes, me too, but I expect she had an independent harness and saftey wire. No doubt the Health and Safety at Work legislation applies to dancers too



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Anneliese

08-12-99, 10:21 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Nutcracker"
In response to message #3
 
   I've only seen this production on TV - we decided not to fork out the exalted prices for the Lyceum last year (and I regret that so much!) It has to be my favourite Nutcracker ever, though - I love the way Clara pokes her nose into all the divertissements, and Sandra Madgwick (on vid) is one of my favourite dancers, lovely feet, nice shape, pretty face and great acting. The video has the added bonus of the lovely Miyako and Irek. It is an utterly magical staging, and I quite agree about that waking under the Xmas-tree moment. Robin liked the spiral trousers of the man who leaps out of the jack-in-the-box. I reckon it knocks spots off the ENB's current version and I can't wait to watch it again with Baby Tim!


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Jim

08-12-99, 11:32 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Nutcracker"
In response to message #4
 
  
>Robin liked the spiral trousers of
>the man who leaps out of
>the jack-in-the-box.

Ha! You mean Zebedee Man? The spiral trousers are meant to represent springs!


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alison

09-12-99, 01:27 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: BRN Nutcracker"
In response to message #0
 
   But I *do* prefer ENB's Snow Scene


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Kevin Ng

09-12-99, 01:51 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: BRN Nutcracker"
In response to message #6
 
   Alison, I agree with you here.


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Trogadmin

13-12-99, 12:03 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: BRN Nutcracker"
In response to message #0
 
   I saw the production Friday night for the fifth time in as many years.

>Perhaps the most stunning aspect of this
>production is the set. The
>transformations, especially the enlargement scene

Indeed the set is stunning and the said scene
usually gets a huge round of applause. Strangley
it didn't on Friday. Maybe the Friday crowd are
getting used to it ??

>Only one thing bugged me a bit - the giant bird >which bore Clara into the second act
>was an ornitholgical nightmare.

This DID get a round of applause on Friday though.
Very fickle the Friday lot.

Still I enjoyed it as much as previous years.
Usual very high standard of dancing.
To me The Nutcracker means the start of Crimby!!


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