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Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Oct 21, 2002 7:42 am ]
Post subject:  Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker" for New Adventures is set to reconquer the London Christmas dance market.

It plays at Bromley's Churchill Theatre from Monday 11th to Saturday 16th November, 2002 and at Sadler's Wells from 20 November 2002 - 25 January 2003 (phew that's a lot of Nuts!).

Full details here for the runs at:

Churchill Theatre, Bromley

Sadler's Wells

Here is the casting information courtesy of Sadler's Wells). Matthew Bourne's regulars are well to the fore and who could argue with that when they perform his style so well:


CLARA: Etta Murfitt, Valentina Formenti, (Shelby Williams)

NUTCRACKER BOY: Alan Vincent, Adam Galbraith, (Richard Winsor)

SUGAR/PRINCESS SUGAR: Saranne Curtin, Michela Meazza, (Belinda Lee Chapman)

FRITZ/PRINCE BON BON: Ewan Wardrop, Neil Penlington, (Philip Willingham)

DR. DROSS/KING SHERBERT: Scott Ambler, James Leece, (Ewan Wardrop)

MRS. DROSS/QUEEN CANDY:Emily Piercy, Isabel Mortimer, (Rachel Lancaster)

CUPIDS: Valentina Formenti and Neil Penlington, Shelby Williams and Lee Smikle, (Gemma Payne and Philip Willingham)

KNICKERBOCKER GLORY: Arthur Pita, Paulo Kadow, (Ross Carpenter)

GOBSTOPPER BOYS: Adam Galbraith, James Leece and Lee Smikle, Philip Willingham, Ross Carpenter and Simon Wakefield, (Alan Vincent and Richard Winsor)

LICORICE ALLSORTS: Vicky Evans, Richard Winsor and Paulo Kadow, Mami Tomatani, Simon Wakefield and Aaron Sillis, (Kerry Biggin and Arthur Pita)

MARSHMALLOW GIRLS: Michela Meazza, Belinda Lee Chapman, Shelby Williams, Rachel Lancaster and Mami Tomatani, Gemma Payne, Sophia Hurdley, Kerry Biggin, Vicky Evans and Rachel Lancaster, (Emily Piercy, Saranne Curtin and Etta Murfitt)

HUMBUG BOUNCER: Ross Carpenter, Ewan Wardrop, James Leece


The performers in bold are the First Cast and will perform those roles at Bromley and until the Press Night (November 26th) at Sadlers Wells.

The Second Cast will first perform their roles on Saturday 7th December at the Matinee Performance. They will continue to perform those roles twice a week from that date onwards

Those cast in brackets will perform if necessitated by illness or injury.


I have very happy memories of this show when it was at Sadler's Wells about 8 years ago, in an earlier version. It was great fun with touches of sadness and I can't wait for the new one.

<small>[ 21 November 2003, 02:21 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue Nov 19, 2002 2:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

Matthew Bourne: The difference an '!' makes
Ten years on, Matthew Bourne's 'Nutcracker' (now called 'Nutcracker!') is more magical than ever, and its creator has never been happier, as he tells Nadine Meisner (in The Independent) when they meet at Sadler's Wells.

Try as he may, Matthew Bourne can't be anything else but accessible. "I don't think I can do anything that's not audience-oriented," he chuckles. "I'm eager to please." Even with Play without Words, his take on the film The Servant, commissioned last summer for the National Theatre's Transformations season, he didn't manage to be abstruse. "I started off very seriously, I wanted it to be an experiment, but it turned out quite accessible."

That accessibility is what made him, and his dance company Adventures in Motion Pictures, an enormous success, peaking with a Swan Lake (1995) in which the swans are a flock of men. The production was such a hit that it transferred to the West End for two seasons and played on Broadway.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue Nov 19, 2002 2:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

Up close and personal
The man behind Adventures in Motion Pictures tells Judith Mackrell (in The Guardian) why he is giving up on glitz and going back to basics.

Ten years ago, Matthew Bourne was a small-time choreographer running his company, Adventures in Motion Pictures, out of the back of a minibus. Then Nicholas Payne asked him to choreograph a new version of The Nutcracker for a radical Tchaikovsky double bill for Opera North. Bourne had never worked with a live orchestra, handled a serious budget or even worked with a ballet before. But the show he went on to create, full of dark Dickensian gothic, louche camp and old Hollywood romance, set him on course for a Dick Wittington-style success.
Ten years on, Nutcracker is returning to the stage, and Bourne is surveying a remarkable - and sometimes traumatic - decade from the security of his new office in London's Sadler's Wells. Before Nutcracker, he says, "it would never have occurred to me to work with a ballet".

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Author:  PressUK [ Sun Nov 24, 2002 4:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

Was it all just a dream?
The music’s more upbeat, the orphanage more downbeat and there’s a lot of licking in Sweetieland. Clifford Bishop for The sunday Times on Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker makeover.

Even a good reputation can be an awful burden. When Matthew Bourne first staged his version of the Nutcracker in 1992, he was known — though not by many — as a young choreographer with vaudevillian tastes, specialising in Hitchcock spoofs and larky dances about underpants. Bourne himself, and Opera North, which commissioned him, had their work cut out to assure the public that this would not just be a frothy send-up, a kind of Carry On Nutcracker. Ten years later, at the age of 43, he is revamping the piece, having since made his name with a string of hits including the world-famous Swan Lake in which all the swans are men, a wartime Cinderella in which the spectre of sexual abuse hangs over Cinders’ house more menacingly than the threat of the Blitz, and a Car Man in which a bisexual drifter whips everyone about him into a howling, horn-honking frenzy of desire. Suddenly, you get the feeling that everyone involved with the new Nutcracker would kill to see a word like “froth” associated with it. “This is a family show,” they repeat, like a mantra. “Really, this is a family show.”

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Author:  Emma Pegler [ Wed Nov 27, 2002 2:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

Sweet, cheesy, yet hugely delectable
by Debra Craine
Sadler's Wells

HOW many Nutcrackers does one city need? London is about to find out the answer to that question as a trio of Nutcrackers take up residence in the capital’s theatres for Christmas. Next week English National Ballet is presenting its new production at the Coliseum, the one designed by the political cartoonist Gerald Scarfe. In three weeks the Royal Ballet performs its opulent traditional staging at the Royal Opera House.

Judith Mackrell
The Guardian

Matthew Bourne believes that anyone remembering his Nutcracker from 10 years ago will spot few differences between this season's revival and its 1992 premiere. It is an assumption that should reassure the show's original fans, for the ingredients which made it such a magical spin on the classic are still in place.
In Act I the motley cast of kids (played by adults) who mope around Dr and Mrs Dross's beastly orphanage are still as ill-assorted and ill-favoured as they always were. The nightmare transformation scene, expertly orchestrated by designer Anthony Ward, is still as heartstopping, with the Nutcracker growing into a hideous lurching dummy; the Xmas twig expanding into blasted tree and the orphanage walls cracking open.

Author:  Joanne [ Thu Nov 28, 2002 6:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

Review in the FT.

Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker! - note the exclamation mark - was made a decade ago and was a jolly, irreverent and cleverly conceived joke about this old snare and delusion. A Victorian orphanage, run by the vilest of the vile. Escape and fantasies for the children, a bit long in the tooth but believable. A diabetic's sugar-nightmare.

And in the Telegraph.

Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker! is the first into London; his company, formerly AMP, is renamed New Adventures, and this production sounds new, though actually he made it 10 years ago when he was a little-known modern dance maverick with a refreshing taste for cheeky classical parody.

both articles comment on the amount of Nutcrackers in the UK this year. are we in danger of Nut overload?

<small>[ 11-28-2002, 07:07: Message edited by: Joanne ]</small>

Author:  Joanne [ Sun Dec 01, 2002 2:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

Review in The Sunday Times.

Eight years after it was last shown in London, Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! is back at Sadler’s Wells in a new production that the theatre has invested in as a long-running Christmas show (until January 25). It then sets off on an even longer tour, so it will still be possible to gather Nuts in May.

Author:  PressUK [ Sun Dec 01, 2002 11:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

By Jann Parry for The Observer

Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker! is also a revival of an earlier work, with an exclamation mark to remind us that he has come a long way since 1992. Although he has worked with children in musicals (including Oliver!), he uses a grown-up cast for his Dickensian vision of Christmas. That way, he can give a knowingly ironic gloss to the show's message: greed and hypocrisy are bad, in adults as in children.

His cast's observation of underage behaviour is acute. Clara (Etta Murfitt) and her fellow waifs and strays from Dr Dross's orphanage exhibit traits that will stay with them all their lives. Just like the old folk in Kontakthof , there's the brash show-off, the sensitive soul, the nerd, the practical joker, the cutie-pie.

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Author:  PressUK [ Wed Dec 04, 2002 1:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

Tchaikovsky's magical turn
By John Percival for The Independent

Six production companies are listed for Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker! at Sadler's Wells; is this a record? Well, it's a big show, running for seven months in London and on tour. Too bad Tchaikovsky doesn't get royalties; this version competing with both Royal Ballet companies, English National Ballet, and what seem like dozens of eastern bloc troupes touring the regions, would have brought him a pretty penny. And I'll bet they'll all be full.

The music, as always, is the most certain draw. Upholding Tchaikovsky for Bourne's staging is the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra; a bit rumbustious, maybe, under Brett Morris's direction, but this score never misses with its unfailing melodic invention and varied emotion. Bourne's comment is that "its magic turns us all into kids again".

What can too easily fail is what you see on stage. Bourne has been brilliantly clever about this. First he devised, with Martin Duncan, a highly ingenious reinterpretation of Petipa's unsatisfactory original scenario; starting it in a Dickensian orphanage makes for much more fun and contrast.

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Marshmallow maidens and a very fluffy heart
By Jenny Gilbert for The Independent

Given that The Nutcracker is often the first, sometimes only, dance work many people see, a single production can have a lot riding on it. Some nine years ago, my then seven-year-old boy was taken by his school to see the ballet. Anticipating a cosy post-show chat about the merits of its dancing snowflakes or Christmas party tricks, I was puzzled to draw a complete blank. He liked "the motorbike riders", he said.

It was a year later, 1994, when I realised that what he'd seen was a Nutcracker courtesy of the live-wire imagination of Matthew Bourne, then a barely known modern-dance maverick with a bent for injecting the classics with large doses of irreverent cheek. Since then, of course, the choreographer has become famous for his radical, male Swan Lake, a work which brought out a much darker strand of his genius. I'm sure Bourne's decision to revive his old Nutcracker makes sound commercial sense. It was a lot of fun a decade ago.

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<small>[ 12-04-2002, 14:53: Message edited by: PressUK ]</small>

Author:  Joanne [ Thu Dec 05, 2002 3:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

Review of a documentary on Matthew Bourne.

BBC4 tipped its hat to a great British showman in Matthew Bourne - Profile, which traced the Walthamstow wonder from stage-struck childhood to Broadway-conquering adulthood.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Dec 05, 2002 1:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker!
By By Gavin Roebuck for The Stage

Sadler's Wells Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker! Director and choreographer Matthew Bourne has taken this magical classic and changed it. With more than a passing reference to the musical Annie, Act I is set in Dr Dross' horrid orphanage. There is a bare twig of a Christmas tree and the Nutcracker doll grows into a large lurching dummy. The traditional snowflakes scene is changed to a frozen pond with a parody of thirties' Sonja Henie skating movies.

Bourne's gluttonous Sweetie-land ridicules the classic sweetmeats divertissements of the original work, with Arthur Pita performing well as a lewd Knickerbocker Glory. There are also five fluffy pink Marshmallow Girls and Ross Carpenter as a Humbug Bouncer.

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Author:  PressUK [ Sun Dec 08, 2002 4:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

By Louise Page for Online Review London

There are currently three productions of the Nutcracker in London alone this Christmas but Matthew Bourne's show with his company New Adventures has to be the most refreshingly original. Audiences will know Matthew Bourne from his most celebrated success in 1995 of Swan Lake, in which the swans are a flock of men. His version of Nutcracker! was first performed ten years ago when Matthew Bourne was a young maverick with a good line in parody, but this is a fresh new production with different costumes and choreography. His original collaboration with Andrew Ward, the designer, has stayed the same and some of the original cast are also still with the show. This is no gooey, cloying Christmas pudding of a show though, Nutcracker! is a deliciously light and frothy confection, a touching, camped-up and joyous combination of ballet, rock and roll, aerobics, jive and disco.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Dec 14, 2002 4:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

BBC2's Newsnight Review discussed Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker. Part of the discussion transcript is on the BBC website. The full programme is also available to watch from the web page below and for a 30 minute programme I was amazed that it loaded in about 30 seconds on broadband.

For me, it's fantastic to see contemporary dance getting this sort of limelight. Performing in that size of venue, with that size of budget, because so often, it's done on the small scale. Here, he's really thinking big, and that's great. It makes it hard to define. It's hard to know what to call it, because when we say contemporary dance, we mean a certain type of lyric dance that we see other choreographers do. This, to me, is somewhere between dance and a musical, sort of like a "dancical", really.

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Author:  Emma Pegler [ Wed Dec 18, 2002 3:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

Sadler's Wells Press Release date: 10 December


Sadler’s Wells threw a glittering charity gala at Matthew Bourne’s spectacular production of Nutcracker! on Thursday 5 December. The evening raised over £50,000 for Sadler’s Wells community and education programme, and was hosted by the actor Richard Wilson. The gala was attended by celebrity supporters including Ewan McGregor, Alan Rickman, Lindsay Duncan, Zoe Wannamaker, Mariella Frostrup, Gina Bellman, Honor Blackman, James Fleet and Simon Callow. 250 tickets were sold at £150, £250 and £350.

Matthew Bourne, his dancers and the celebrity Gala Patrons, mixed with guests at a glittering champagne reception and post-show party after watching Matthew Bourne’s delicious production of Nutcracker! Groups organised by Connect with Sadler's Wells performed at the gala, including the Lilian Baylis Arts Club who sang carols as guests arrived, the Hollaway Boyz from Holloway School who performed a b-boy/hip-hop take on Toy Soldiers and eight female students from the City and Islington Sixth Form Centre who performed at the post-show party.

A silent auction at the party raised over £12,000. The items auctioned were donated by the celebrity guests and patrons, and included an Arsenal shirt signed by the team, an original Hogwarts acceptance letter from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Alan Rickman's signed script cover from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, a signed pair of Darcey Bussell's ballet shoes and an EastEnders Albert Square sign, signed by all the cast and donated by Tamsin Outhwaite. (A full list of the items auctioned is available on request).

The highlight of the auction came at the end of the evening when Richard Wilson even sold the black and gold striped shirt he was wearing for an extra £1,000.

Sadler’s Wells reaches and teaches thousands of people both young and old each year through its superb education programme - Connect. Many children and young people are experiencing the excitement of dance for the very first time through their involvement in Connect projects. However, the full extent of Connect’s work can only be achieved through private support.

For further press information contact Caroline Miller, Sadler’s Wells,
Press Manager 020 7863 8112 or

Author:  Emma Pegler [ Sun Jan 19, 2003 3:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker!" 2002-3

The season of Bourne's Nutcracker at the Sadler's Wells has been extended to cover the rest of Januar/beginning of February.

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