Express & Star

A cracking start to the festive season as The Nutcracker takes to the Birmingham Hippodrome

Festive cheer filled the air at the Birmingham Hippodrome as the cast of The Nutcracker took to the stage in a mesmerising performance.

The cast was made up of performers from the Birmingham Royal Ballet

The spirit of Tchaikovsky once again came alive at the Hippodrome on Friday night as hundreds turned out to watch Birmingham Royal Ballet's sparkling rendition of the classic show.

As the orchestra started to play, the curtain still down, silence fell upon the busy theatre, the audience shuffling in their seats in anticipation of what was to come.

The moment the curtain was lifted and Act I began, a picture-perfect festive scene was unveiled, as the protagonist, Clara, along with her family and friends, were seen enjoying a Christmas Eve get-together.

The festive spirit was felt in the Birmingham Hippodrome on opening night of The Nutcracker

A magician, named Drosselmeyer, was then introduced to guests, wowing the youngsters in the audience as he brought various toys to life, including a Jack-in-the-box who sprung across the stage wearing comedically large trousers.

Whilst everyone else retires to bed, Clara sneaks downstairs in search of her nutcracker toy under the Christmas tree, which springs to life thanks to Drosselmeyer's magic, thus marking the start of the young girl's dream sequence, featuring Rat King's, Sugar Plum fairies and dances from around the world.

Clara gazing upon her beloved nutcracker doll

A notable mention has to be given here to Beatrice Parma, whose performance as Clara was captivating, an opinion I think was also shared by the man sitting next to me who uttered a "wow" under his breath after her dance with the prince.

But it was the performance accompanying Tchaikovsky's "Waltz of the Flowers" in Act II that received the biggest applause of the night, as dancers donned in beautiful pink, sparkling dresses drifted across the stage in total unison – not a step out of place.

The Snow Fairy leapt onto the stage of the Birmingham Hippodrome

Another favourite moment of mine in Act II was the Russian Dance, brought to life by Louis Andreasen, Ryan Felix and Callum Findlay White.

This energetic trio were loud – both in their movement and costume – creating the ideal contrast to the more delicate performances we had seen so far.

A perfect marriage of music and dance, Peter Wright's production of The Nutcracker is an unmissable way to start the festive season.

To buy tickets to the show – which will run at the Birmingham Hippodrome until December 9 – visit