CriticalDance Forum

Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Feb 13, 2003 1:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

Nutcrackers go head to head
From ic Newcastle

They're just like buses, these big ballet productions - you wait for ages and then two come at once.

Jump aboard and they will transport you to fantastic realms of the imagination - and you can sit upstairs or down. Or at least you can in Sunderland, where the Empire Theatre plays host next week to the Chisinau National Ballet, from Moldova, with their version of The Nutcracker.

If you want to see Newcastle Theatre Royal's production - Nutcracker! - it's upstairs only. It's a sell-out apart from the back of the gallery.

There's a good reason for this, apart from the fact that the Newcastle theatre is smaller.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed Mar 19, 2003 7:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

Nutcracking adventures
Matthew Bourne knows how to make dance-theatre feel good for a mass audience: he takes a classical ballet and adds a touch of camp genius. This is what Edinburgh is about to experience, says Kelly Apter for The Times.

It’s June 2000, and Matthew Bourne is walking through one of Nottingham’s less salubrious neighbourhoods. His Bizet-inspired dance show, The Car Man, has just performed to a capacity crowd in the city’s Playhouse Theatre, but now he’s all alone. Out of the darkness, he sees a group of young boys approaching. “I was pretty nervous,” says Bourne. “And as I got closer, this black guy shouted ‘hey’, and my heart stopped.”

Nobody could have predicted what followed. “He walked up to me in front of all his mates and said, ‘Matthew Bourne — you’re great man, I saw your show and I’m going to Laban next year.’ It was a real eye-opener, it shattered all my preconceptions.”

For the uninitiated, the Laban Centre is one of the world’s finest contemporary dance schools. Bourne is its most famous graduate.

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Cracking the nut
By Michael Church for The Scotsman

It’s every budding ballerina’s dream and everyone’s favourite winter entertainment, and it traditionally comes with everything its producers can muster in terms of theatrical icing on the cake. However, the icing on this Nutcracker is sweeter than anything that has gone before.

This Nutcracker begins, not in an opulent Christmas party at the home of a Central European royal family, but in an orphanage.

"I wanted to get a true sense of moving from darkness into light," says choreographer Matthew Bourne, as his show is readied for take-off. "And my idea gave us the chance to have some very naughty orphans that the kids could identify with. I think the rich Victorian Christmas is already a fantasy world to most of the audience, so when the real fantasy starts, you don’t feel you’ve gone anywhere."

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Mar 21, 2003 6:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

Ballet goes to hollywood
By Rory Ford for The Evening New (Glasgow)

IT’S very hard to argue with success - or spectacle. And if you find the idea of a version of The Nutcracker playing Edinburgh at the tail end of March a little, well, distasteful - like finally chucking out that unloved Christmas pudding that’s been lurking at the back of your fridge just as the crocuses bloom - then Matthew Bourne’s production could be just the thing to change your mind.

At first the pairing seems unlikely. Bourne is the choreographer and artistic director behind the influential dance troupe Adventures In Motion Pictures, who successfully married his love of movies and music to create a blissfully accessible form of dance that owes far more to old Hollywood musicals than classical ballet.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Mar 23, 2003 1:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

Bourne Again
Not content with camping up Swan Lake, radical director Matthew Bourne has dusted down his Nutcracker, added an exclamation mark and put a cherry on top ... and the crowds are going wild. He talks to Ellie Carr for The Sunday Herlad about his plum job.

If anyone can get away with adding an exclamation mark to one of the world's most famous ballets, it's Matthew Bourne, whose day-glo bauble of a dance show Nutcracker! reaches Scotland this week.
He is, after all, the man who mussed up the pristine feathers of 19th-century classic Swan Lake by replacing the traditional corps of female swans with bare-chested, leather-clad male ones and giving the piece a dark under- current of unrequited gay love.

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Bourne's new adventures
By Jackie McGlone for Scptland on Sunday

PEOPLE are forever asking Matthew Bourne if he is the prince - the tortured tragic hero at the heart of his sexy all-male version of Swan Lake. "Everyone who ever interviews me, especially in the States, wants to know if I’m Siegfried, the boy doomed to fall in love with a swan," sighs the award-winning choreographer, famous for putting testosterone into tights.

"I am not now and, indeed, never have been a victim," says Bourne, who is amused by journalists’ attempts to psychoanalyse him in interviews. You sense that what you see is what you get. The 43-year-old comes across as a sandy-haired, short-back-and-sides version of Kenneth Branagh and has the same sunny, stalwart-of-the-tennis-club air as the actor, as well as a passing resemblance.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Mar 27, 2003 2:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

Cracking night out
By THOM DIBDIN for The Evening News (Edinburgh)

SWEETIES and snowballs, Cupids and giant cakes, this version of the Nutcracker is one of the most explosively entertaining pieces of dance you are likely to see.

Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! is something else, entirely, when compared to the usual museum-piece versions of classical ballet to visit Edinburgh.

This is dance which takes all the moves of classical ballet and uses its ability to tell a story over a whole evening.

But there the likeness stops. Because in creating this wonderful show, Bourne has been mindful of the whole century of experience which mankind has had since the original was first performed in 1892.

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By Mary Brennan for The Herald

When the curtain rises on this Nutcracker! you see, immediately, how far and how brilliantly Matthew Bourne has taken it beyond the ballet traditions associated with Christmas, cosiness, and dimpled childhood. The setting is a grim, grey orphanage and the hapless youngsters (vividly portrayed by adults) are straight from Dickens's novels. Festivities here are a sham, rigged up by Dr Dross to impress the governers. What is recognisably real, however, is Clara's craving for love and romance, especially as embodied in the Nutcracker doll that comes alive as a matinee-idol hunk (Alan Vincent).

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Mar 30, 2003 2:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

Naughty ... But Very Nice
Anonymous from The Sunday Herald

With Matthew Bourne it's in the detail. It's the cheeky orphans (played by adults) at Dr Dross's Orphanage For Waifs And Strays pulling faces behind one another's backs; or Dr Dross and Matron's nasty nippers Fritz and Sugar smearing chocolate over their greedy gobs; or the camped-up, pyjama-clad cupids who alternately sigh in unison or cover their eyes when faced with the targets their lethal arrows have struck.

Nutcracker! is the Tchaikovsky favourite with a day-glo cherry on top. That exclamation mark is the equivalent of fuchsia-pink neon lights. This is old-school Hollywood glamour with sequin-covered knobs on -- the giant cake adorned with gyrating Sweetieland characters is a direct steal from Busby Berkeley's Busby Beauties. It's cartoon-ish gothic horror shot through with a wicked dose of satire .

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed Apr 02, 2003 1:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

By KELLY APTER for The Scotsman

MESSING around with a classic can be a risky business. And the phrase "if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it" certainly still holds water. But while The Nutcracker wasn’t exactly broken, it had been around the block a few times and needed a shot in the arm.

Enter choreographer Matthew Bourne, wielding a hypodermic needle which is positively dripping with glitz, kitsch and a cast of characters so camp they need tent pegs to keep them down.

Nutcracker! is the latest offering from the man whose all-male Swan Lake turned the dance world on its head. And although gender-swapping is off the menu, Bourne has done a lot more to The Nutcracker than just add an exclamation mark. Gone is Clara’s palatial home and bauble-laden Christmas tree; instead we enter the world of Dr Dross’s Orphanage for Waifs and Strays.

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Author:  Joanne [ Thu Apr 03, 2003 2:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

Nutcracker to be first full length ballet to be shown on BBC1 in ten years.

From The Independent.

The first ballet to be seen on BBC1 in almost a decade will be Matthew Bourne's colourful production of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker.

Lorraine Heggessey, the BBC1 controller, has commissioned Bourne's innovative production as a treat for the Christmas schedules. It underlines her commitment to restoring the arts to the corporation's main channel.


Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Apr 03, 2003 7:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

Hmm...I'm pleased that BBC1 will be showing "Nutcracker!" this Christmas for a variety of reasons - anything which supports the work of Bourne and his team is good in my book; I'm pleased that his great dancer/actors will receive the publicity from TV and no doubt video showings; dance on TV is so rare these days then any sightings are very good news.

However, the Beeb Press Release is puzzling. Firstly, even I wouldn't call it a ballet and it's a shame that the modern dance roots of this production are not publicised. Secondly, I am rather puzzled that, even in these days of the end of the High Art/Low Art divide, that Bourne's "Nutcracker!" and "Cirque du Soleil" will do much to restore BBC1 as a champion of the Arts. They are both good, accessible entertainments, heavily influenced by show-biz as the appropriate allusion to Busby Berkeley indicates.

If the Beeb had announced that they were televising Bourne's much more interesting "Play Without Words" then I would have been far more impressed.

To be honest, when I first read the Beeb announcement on April 1st, I did wonder whether it was an April Fool.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Apr 03, 2003 8:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

Far be it for me to tell you I told you so (see my post above), but I told you so (see below):

Nutcracker! Norwich
By SARAH HARDY for EDP24 (Norwich)

Don't, for goodness sake, go and imagine that this is a ballet. Matthew Bourne, surely Britain's most inventive choreographer, takes this Tchaikovsky classic by the scruff of the neck – and gives it a great, big sloppy kiss.

With his new company, New Adventures, Bourne takes the surreal, fairytale element of this great work and uses it to the full. It's a fun, almost cheesy, show with everything acted out in high drama and for the most amount of laughs.

But ballet it isn't – and Bourne is the first to admit this.

He isn't a classical dancer and his work is best described as modern dance as there are certainly no pointes or tutus!

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Author:  Joanne [ Fri Apr 04, 2003 2:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

Guardian goes with a similar article to the Independent.

BBC1 controller Lorraine Heggessey is once again bidding to head off critics who complain that her channel has abandoned serious arts coverage by commissioning the first ballet to be seen on BBC1 for at least five years.
Ms Heggessey has ordered a TV version of choreographer Matthew Bourne's radical reworking of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, which relocates the action to a bleak, Dickensian orphanage on Christmas Eve.


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