Review provided with kind permission by Georgina Daly
A Christmas party, snowflakes, fairies, gifts and a fabulous Christmas tree were magical moments sprinkled like stardust at the beginning of The Nutcracker presented by Southern Youth Ballet at the Congress Theatre.
Clara’s gift from her godfather, Drosselmeyer is a nutcracker doll which she leaves beside the tree when she goes to bed. Creeping downstairs at midnight to rescue her toy, she finds a battle raging between the opposing forces of the mice and the nutcracker and his gingerbread soldiers.
Feisty Clara biffs the nasty Mouse King over the head with her shoe and so saves the day. The nutcracker doll, transformed into a handsome young man, is so grateful for the rescue that he invites Clara to accompany him on a visit to the Land of Sweets.
The ballet is some 120 years old but the excitement among the capacity audience was very much of today.
The gorgeous costumes, a tree that grows and grows and the Southern Youth Ballet Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Roberts playing the music by Tchaikovsky all blended perfectly to show off the talents of the company’s 50-plus young dancers. Erin Perry was an endearing Clara and hats off to Edward Davies for stepping in at the eleventh hour to dance an assured Nutcracker.
There were so many highlights in this production that it seems unfair to single out some individuals but plaudits must go to Isabelle Cronin and Henry Green for their pas de deux as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince. Yuriko Evans as the Snow Fairy and Lorena Perez (doubling as the Mouse King and Drosselmeyer) were outstanding while the members of the Eastbourne Gilbert and Sullivan Society provided a charming chorus for the dancers.
Produced, directed and co-choreographed by the company’s founder, Liz Buckland, this Nutcracker was exhilarating and fun.