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Friday, May 18
REVIEWED BY PENNY NEILSON
The story of Clara (Natalia Chezganova) and her Nutcracker doll, a Christmas gift from her Godfather, the mysterious Drosselmeyer (Maksim Aslanov), is known around the world and beloved as a magical and charming family favourite.
Set to Tchaikovsky’s romantic score, The Nutcracker opens with a party at the house of the Stahlbaums, and then enters the world of imagination and fantasy as Clara dreams of candy kingdoms and battles between the Mouse King and his army and an army of gingerbread soldiers.
After the mice are defeated it is revealed the nutcracker toy is in fact a Nutcracker Prince. Natalia Chezganova was delightful as Clara. She was bright and bubbly and is herself doll-like in her performance.
Her sometimes petulant behaviour towards her brother, Fritz (Artem Pivkin), in Act I was lovely. Her partnership with Aleksandr Tarasov as the Nutcracker Prince was textbook, but any chemistry between the two was somewhat lacking.
The highlights of this production are the character dances. The Spanish provided yet more drama, passion and flair, while the Arabian couple in particular were a standout with their alluring and sensual performance. It would not have been complete without an appearance from a Russian pair to provide energy and jumps.
The staging was good, but not the grand opulence you would expect from one of the great ballets - the sets consisting of painted backdrops. Costuming was colourful and transported the audience back to Imperial Russia.
Perhaps it was the fact it was the last stop on a lengthy tour of Australia and New Zealand but there was something a little bit flat about this performance.
That said, it was still an enjoyable evening at the theatre.
The Nutcracker - Moscow Ballet La Classique
Friday, May 18
Reviewed by Penny Neilson