If there’s one phrase that describes Matthew Bourne’s imaginative retelling of the Nutcracker, it’s “oral feast”.
And, yes, I do mean oral, not aural. While Bourne makes great use of Tchaikovsky’s famous score — embellished with hints of jive, flamenco and more besides — the cast spend an inordinate amount of time licking things. Quite often each other. For those familiar with Bourne it will be no surprise. He specialises in bold and bawdy ballet and this is no exception, and good to gobble all up.
Top of the table is Hannah Vassallo as Claro, the orphan girl who is taken on a fantastical journey. Beautifully expressionate, she held her own throughout and took the audience’s affection with her as she tried to capture the heart of the Nutcracker (Chris Trenfield).
Sophia Hurdley and Luke Murphy were charmingly comic Cupids, and Tom Jackson Greaves is deliciously rakish as Knickerbocker Glory.
Anthony Ward’s set and costumes make a fabulous impact. From the monochrome of the orphanage to the saccharine explosions of Sweetieland, they are at one with the action.
You can’t help but leave delighted, emotionally exercised, and humming those famous tunes.