The Nutcracker, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Birmingham Hippodrome - review
What a Christmas cracker!
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker is an unbeatable way to start the festive season with a bang.
It has been delighting families for more than 25 years and it hasn't lost an ounce of its magical charm and fabulous feel-good factor.
Full of sparkle and panache it serves a feast for the senses with opulent costumes, lavish sets and Tchaikovsky's superb score perfectly performed by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.
There was an air of excitement for the opening night with many young budding ballerinas in the audience dressed in their pretty party dresses for a big evening out.
And they weren't disappointed as they followed the heroine Clara's journey to a fantasyland of toy soldiers, giant rats and snow fairies after she was transported there following a magician's visit on Christmas Eve.
It's a fast-moving spectacle with plenty of contrasting sets to showcase the dancers impressive range of athletic talent and artistic style.
From the energetic to the elegant, the classic to the comic, the mood changes from scene to scene keeping the audience enthralled from beginning to end.
All eyes are on the dancers but the crew behind the scenes also conjure up stunning special effects including the Christmas tree and fireplace transformation, the snow scene and Clara's flight through the clouds.
Special praise for Celine Gittens' elegant and poised Rose Fairy while Momoko Hirata as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cesar Morales as the Prince danced their duets with precision and flair.
Karla Doorbar as Clara demonstrated a tireless talent with a charming and graceful performance.
It's easy to see why this production by Sir Peter Wright is acclaimed as one of the best in the world. No wonder it’s become a Christmas tradition for many who return year after year and never tire of its delights.
Magical and mesmerising, the Nutcracker has kicked off Christmas in spectacular style.
*The Nutcracker runs at Birmingham Hippdrome until December 13.