Ballet Review: The Nutcracker (Gaiety today 2.30 and 7.30pm)

thenutcrackerThe Nutcracker is as much a part of Christmas as It’s A Wonderful Life, or the Christmas tree, and, yet again, Ballet Ireland are bringing this classic show to the masses. (Tour dates below).

It kicked off in the Gaiety Theatre on 16th (today, Saturday, at 2.30pm and 7.30pm are the only times left in the Gaiety) before going on a countrywide tour. This is probably one of the most accessible ballets for those who are not fans of the art form. Most people are familiar with the music, even if they don’t realise it, as it has been used in adverts and popular shows for decades. Also, the themes of Christmas and fantasy are ones that everyone can relate to.

thenutcracker1The tale itself is a simple one. On Christmas Eve, a young girl is given the present of a Nutcracker Doll, which she adores. However, when midnight strikes, she discovers that her toy is magical as he comes to life. He leads her into a mysterious fairytale world, where she faces the Mouse King and his army, and travels to the Land of Snow, and the Kingdom of Sweets. Even if you think ballet is too high-brow or abstract for you, you will be able to follow this.

This particular production doesn’t rely on dazzling effects or lighting. The staging is extremely simple – possibly to accommodate touring – and, as a result, the focus is very much on the dancing, which is wonderful. I have seen numerous productions of this where petite adult dancers play the children in the opening scenes, but here they actually do employ some child dancers, which adds to the wonder and magic, and makes it even more engaging for the children that attend.

While the dancing is sublime and the costumes are beautiful, I did feel that the transitions were somewhat clunky. Particularly a rather long reset between the Christmas Party scene and the dream sequence, and I have seen this handled much more smoothly.

However, this is a relatively minor complaint in what is an otherwise lovely production. It isn’t the best Nutcracker I’ve ever seen, but it is still wonderful. If you want an antidote to Christmas Panto, and enjoy immersing yourself in a couple of hours of childlike wonder, you’ll love this.

Not just one for the children, adults should also find this completely magical.

The Gaiety Theatre, South King Street, Dublin 2

Saturday 19 November, 2.30pm and 7.30pm,

Tickets: €26 – €45 (Including booking fees)

Groups – 10% off booking of 10 or more

Students – €21

Upper Circle seats available in person only at box office with ID

More information and tickets, go to:

‘On Tour’ Venues and Dates 

Garage Theatre, Monaghan: Tuesday 22 November

Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo: Wednesday 23 November

Draíocht, Blanchardstown: Friday 25 November

Everyman Theatre, Cork: Saturday 26 November

Town Hall Theatre, Galway: Tues 29 & Wed 30 November

Civic Theatre, Tallaght: Thurs 1 – Sat 3 December

Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise: Mon 5 & Tues 6 December

The Helix, Glasnevin, Dublin 9: Thursday 8 December

Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick: Fri 9 & Sat 10 December

Siamsa Tíre, Tralee: Sunday 11 December

Solstice Arts Centre, Navan: Tuesday 13 December

Backstage Theatre, Longford: Wednesday 14 December

Glór, Ennis: Friday 16 December

Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny: Saturday 17 December

The Source Arts Centre, Thurles: Sunday 18 December

Dean Crowe Theatre, Athlone: Tuesday 20 December

VISUAL, Carlow: Wednesday 21 December

Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray: Thurs 22 & Fri 23 December

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