CriticalDance Forum

English National Ballet's Nutcracker
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Author:  Andre Yew [ Thu Dec 05, 2002 1:13 pm ]
Post subject:  English National Ballet's Nutcracker

Ouch! I think some critics still know how to be mean:

Dance: Coarse manners, enfeebled dance
Clement Crisp, Financial Times

I had supposed that the day would not bring a sight more unnecessary than the morning's view of an oriental tourist photographing a police horse as it defecated in the street. Wrong again! Tuesday evening gave me my first sight of English National Ballet's new The Nutcracker, which is the justification for the company's Yuletide season at the Coliseum.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Dec 05, 2002 1:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: English National Ballet's Nutcracker

Andrew thanks a lot for this. I'm going to make sure that we have it in "UK performance" and close this topic.

Clement is a stylish writer, but....

Author:  kurinuku [ Fri Dec 31, 2004 6:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: English National Ballet's Nutcracker

The Nutcracker, Coliseum, London
Scarfe throttles fantasy

the Independent

The present production, new in 2002, is an unhappy attempt at an update. The dancers struggle to make anything of it.

The trouble starts with the designs. The political cartoonist Gerald Scarfe is known for savage caricatures, with swooping lines and vast noses. He isn't an obvious choice for the frost and sweetness of Tchaikovsky's score.

Author:  Patricia Somerset [ Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: English National Ballet's Nutcracker

“The Nutcracker” on 23rd December (evening performance) provided an enjoyable evening of dance thanks to Christopher Hampson’s choreography and the quality of the dancers. Having said that, a weak point in the performance was the Spanish, Chinese, Arabian and dances, where dancers did not seem to have anything very interesting to do. Pedro Lapetra as the Russian dancer, however, performed some exciting leaps and brought the show back to life.

Gerald Scarfe’s sets were colourful and fantastic, enhanced by John Rayment’s skilful lighting design. The story book worked well as did the fridge with the jack frosts leaping out of it. Their costumes too were eye-catching and original. However, I thought the costumes in the party scene were an assortment of the grotesque, though this is quite possibly what they were meant to be. After this scene, however, costumes became much more attractive and interesting. I particularly liked the mice and their king.

The success of “The Nutcracker” depends on the characterisation and dancing of Clara and Lisa Probert did both beautifully. I did not enjoy Drosselmeyer’s transformation into a “magician and showman”, which made him less mysterious and powerful. Though Juan Rodriguez’s dancing was a pleasure to watch, his magician’s costume looked as though it was left over from “Grease”.

Erina Takahashi was a perfect Sugar Plum Fairy and Arionel Vargas a dashing prince. The ensemble pieces were well danced and the whole show made for great holiday entertainment.

Author:  kurinuku [ Fri Dec 23, 2005 9:05 am ]
Post subject: 

The Nutcracker, Coliseum, London twostar
by ZOE ANDERSON for the Independent

Characters are weighted down by padded costumes and elaborate wigs. Even the simpler costumes encourage one-joke, one-note performances. It's to the dancers' credit that they manage to project past them. In the first-act party scene, the grandfather turns up with his younger girlfriend, Miss V. Aggra, Jane Haworth, inside an exaggerated hourglass figure. It can't be easy to wiggle seductively under all that costuming, but Haworth casts bright, naughty glances about her.

published: 22 December 2005

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Dec 24, 2005 3:54 am ]
Post subject: 

The Nutcracker
By Debra Craine for The Times

What do you want your Nutcracker to be? If you want a sense of magic and fantasy then this English National Ballet offering might not be for you. But if you want easy laughs and eye-popping visuals then this Nutcracker, ensconced at the Coliseum until January 1, is just the ticket.

It’s all about Gerald Scarfe. He was responsible for “concept and design” for this 2002 staging and not surprisingly, given that he’s a famous cartoonist, he made a cartoon that moves.

click for more


The Nutcracker
By John Percival for The Stage

This is an unusually jolly Nutcracker - designer Gerald Scarfe led the concept with Christopher Hampson as choreographer and between them they have given the characters and the plot all the wit of Scarfe’s lifetime of cartooning.

click for more

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