BRB's The Nutcracker thills at Hippodrome

Birmingham Royal Ballet brought festive magic to the stage in a sensational production of The Nutcracker.

Birmingham Royal Ballet

The Nutcracker

Hippodrome, Birmingham

review by Andy Richardson

The genius who created the BRB's Nutcracker was in the audience as it took to the stage for its 398th performance.

The audience sang Happy Birthday to Sir Peter Wright before the curtain went up on the 21st season of his marvellous and extraordinary The Nutcracker, at Birmingham Hippodrome.

Sir Peter was celebrating a glorious 85th year and was joined by the great and the good, with the Lord Mayor of Birmingham and other civic dignatories enjoying a magical evening of top flight ballet.

The Nutcracker is a spellbinding production full of invention and beauty. Starring the marvellous Carol-Anne Miller as Clara, a ballet student; Jamie Bond as The Prince and the athletic Robert Parker as Drosselmeyer, a magician, its opening night took a full house on a magic carpet ride.

A dramatic stage setting, marvellous special effects and inch-perfect routines made for dizzying delight.

Audience members of all ages sat with the sort of wonder and awe that young children have at seasonal pantomimes: they were transported to a magical land.

Sumptuous music under the baton of Koen Kessell and Royal Ballet Sinfonia leader Robert Gibbs completed the evening.

There were a number of expert cameos, including Victoria Marr's Arabian Dance, Jonathan Caguioa and Nathanael Skelton's Chinese dance and Nao Sakuma's breathtaking Grand pas de deux, with Jamie Bond.

The West Midlands if fortunate indeed to have one of the world's greatest ballet companies on its doorstep. Christmas has already begun: The Nutcracker is the perfect festive production.

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