The Nutcracker is a crowd pleaser and the Queensland Ballet Company delivers this accessible show with their usual finesse and talent.
The ballet opens on a rowdy family party where the young Clara is gifted with a nutcracker, much to the jealousy of her brother.
During the night, Clara is attacked by rats and the Nutcracker comes to her rescue but is nearly defeated by the Rat King. Clara vanquishes the Rat King by hitting him with her shoe and she sails off with the Nutcracker (who is now a handsome prince) to his kingdom. In the second half, Clara is the guest of honour and the fairies in the Nutcracker's kingdom perform a number of dances to thank her for her bravery.
This is where The Nutcracker excels. In this adaptation by Ben Stevenson, it is like the greatest hits version of a ballet. The music, conducted by Nigel Gaynor, is the easily recognisable and eternally delightful score by Tchaikovsky. A number of acts are performed by solo dancers or paired or grouped dancers, each designed to showcase the talents of these immaculate performers.
Standouts included Neneka Yoshida (as the Snow Queen), Lucy Green (as the Sugar Plum Fairy) and Victor Estevez (as the Nutcracker Prince). Clara was performed by Lou Spichtig who displayed convincing childlike delight and goodness. A personal favourite was the performance of the lead flower couple (Lina Kim and Alexander Idaszak). But all the mini-performances were performed with the style and excellence we have come to expect from the Queensland Ballet under the directorship of Li Cunxin.
If you are a lover of ballet looking for some nostalgia or the parents of children wanting to introduce them to world-class dancing, this is the perfect show to see.
The Nutcracker is showing from 14 December — 22 December at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC. Get tickets here.