'The Nutcracker', English National Ballet - London Coliseum

Once again, the London Coliseum has been adorned with over 10,000 Swarovski elements- and they’re not the only shimmering gems that the English National Ballet has to show this Christmas.

The ENB’s annual production of The Nutcracker is as much of a seasonal resident in London as the Rockefeller tree is in Manhattan. Whether you are a new-be to the ballet or an old hat in the stalls, Gavin Sutherland’s musical direction of Tchaikovsky’s score and Wayne Eagling’s choreography will whisk you away to your childhood dreams of glittered sugarplums and frosted forests.

ENB has been dancing The Nutcracker for almost 70 years. The current production however, designed to dazzle with its enchanting focus on a traditional white Christmas, was premiered in 2010. Although this version of the ballet designed by Peter Farmer encompasses childish charm within the opening scenes, it does evoke a much more sinister presence through the world of transformations and fantasy. Enhanced from beginning to end by its sprightly cast, an irresistible flavour is brought to an old favourite.

The opening scenes entice as playful skaters enjoy a winter wonderland whilst Clara’s home caters to members of the family and guests with light evening entertainment. However all ages are captivated by the enthusiastic Drosselmeyer and his range of illusions and tricks that foreshadow the magic to come.

English National Ballet in Nutcracker © Laurent Liotardo

As the winter night closes in, imagination takes you from young Clara’s bedroom (Sophie Carter) to a mystical, snow-capped fairyland where the corps of twinkling snowflakes dazzle with their synchronicity- who said no two snowflakes are the same?

Alina Cojocaru and James Forbat in English National Ballet's Nutcracker © Laurent Liotardo

Moreover, the soloists captivate the audience, with each perfectly placed step leaving you overwhelmed by the immense skill held within their toes. Rina Kanehara, whose talents encompass feminine innocence, also displays immense strength and energy. Our Sugar Plum Fairy’s performance is matched by her dear Nutcracker (Fernando Carratalá Coloma) and together they present balletic grandeur with youthful opulence. Such majesty is similarly seen across the dances of the Four Realms. With fiery flamenco, traditional Russian Folk dance, Oriental excitement and Eastern snake charming, the company presents a masterful diversity of style among its ranks.

English National Ballet in Nutcracker © Laurent Liotardo

When reminiscing on my beguiling night at the ballet, I cannot help feeling somewhat saddened by the thought that another year must pass before the ENB’s production can delight me once again. This sorrow, however, is eased by the thought that The Nutcracker will continue to enchant a new audience each night until December 30th. With Tchaikovsky’s impeccable score partnering the company’s irrevocable talent, the English National Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker is London’s most spellbinding holiday affair.

London Coliseum

December 13th - 30th

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