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Review: Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker
Bristol Hippodrome, Until April 21
ENERGY, enthusiasm and extravagance fill the stage in this very fresh look at the classic ballet.
The curtains opened to display not a traditional Christmas party, but a bleak, slightly surreal orphanage filled with abandoned children. Anthony Ward’s grey, cracked and jagged set emphasises the sadness and hardship of the lost children, and with each dancer getting into their own character with great drama it’s easy to fall into the show.
Chris Trenfield gives a haunting display of the Nutcracker coming to life, leading the children into rebellion and sweeping them off to a magic land. Here selfish, spoilt Sugar steals the Nutcracker from Clara in a beautiful ‘ice-skating’ dance set amid falling snow.
Hannah Vassallo portrays wide-eyed Clara with the perfect amount of passion and vulnerability, making her a true protagonist worth believing in.
Act two is a feast of extravagant costumes and exuberant dancing before the traditional happy-ever-after ending with a wedding cake finale, pictured left. Both Ashley Shaw and Daniel Collins, who play Sugar and Fritz, put incredible amounts of enthusiasm and personality into their dancing, although I found Chris Trenfield’s portrayal of the Nutcracker a little bland.
This is a brilliant interpretation of the Tchaikovsky favourite, a definite must-see.