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Tango Dancer

Moscow City Ballet Nutcracker at Richmond Theatre

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I hope it's alright to post a review of this version of Nutcracker which I saw at Richmond's beautiful Frank Matcham theatre.  It's a lovely venue if a little cramped in the leg room stakes.  People obviously were shorter in 1899 I can only assume.   

 

The Nutcracker, as performed by Moscow City Ballet is a brilliant demonstration of good basic ballet technique on a shoestring budget.  It was also a slightly unusual version of the story with some features I've not seen before https://moscowcityballet.com/the-nutcracker/ .

 

This included the fact that Drosselmeyer turned himself into a younger man to be a suitor for Clara as a rival to the Nutcracker Prince and that he. rather than Clara, did the dance of the Mirlitons.  Is anyone else familiar with this version of the story because it's a new one on me?  Is this a usual version in Russian presentations of the piece?   I'm more used to the Royal Ballet or BRB versions and don't recall this take on the story before.

 

The set was very simple with some nice painted backdrops.  The party scene was rather nicely presented and I thought Fritz did a great job of being a charmingly naughty boy.  Drosselmeyer was rather creepy in my view, he looked quite old and Clara was very childlike and petite so I found his interest in her a little on the uncomfortable side for my personal taste and it made me feel slightly uneasy as he tried to turn into a suitor for her.  I was not the only one who thought this as I heard 2 ladies in the row in front saying as much on the way out. 

 

The Nutcracker Prince and Clara both danced well, with the pas de deux a particularly strong point showing good chemistry.  I also enjoyed the Spanish and Chinese dances particularly as the 2 gentlemen in the Chinese dance tackled the leaps with enthusiasm and skill and the lady in the Spanish dance had a lovely port de bras in my view.  The corps de ballet were well disciplined and beautifully synchronised. As programmes were £7 I didn't pay for one so am not sure of any of the performers' names on this occasion.    

 

On the whole while this isn't an amazingly memorable production and there were some ropey costuming moments, I enjoyed myself.  It's a touring production so if it's on where you are, it's probably worth going but I wouldn't go out of my way for it. 

 

I should also say that there were a number of young children in the audience and I was pleasantly surprised how well behaved they all were and how captivated by the story. 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you, Tango Dancer.  It's been quite a while since we had any reports on MCB, I think.  I can't say I recognise this production from your description of it, but then I don't go to a lot of Nutcrackers.

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I love the Richmond Theatre though have fond memories of going as a child for several years running to see Pantomime there with an Aunt. I always loved the ballet bits which were usually included most years. 

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Thanks for your lovely review, Tango Dancer.  

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21 hours ago, LinMM said:

I love the Richmond Theatre though have fond memories of going as a child for several years running to see Pantomime there with an Aunt. I always loved the ballet bits which were usually included most years. 

 

It's a lovely little theatre, beautifully preserved and maintained.  I go to see things there from time to time and they have an interesting programme.  I'm going to see Balletboyz there later this year. 

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23 hours ago, Tango Dancer said:

I hope it's alright to post a review of this version of Nutcracker which I saw at Richmond's beautiful Frank Matcham theatre. 

Far from being 'alright' it is very welcome!  Thank you @Tango Dancer.  I am intrigued at the story you describe and have not come across that before.

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I also enjoyed the Moscow City Ballet’s production of Nutcracker on Monday but my wife and I also went on Wednesday to see their Swan Lake and we much preferred the choreography for Swan Lake.

We also found Drosselmeier’s love interest in Clara creepy. I am surprised that they have not adapted their synopsis to reflect the times in which we now live.

Liliya Orekhova, their prima ballerina, danced the role of Odette/Odile on Wednesday evening.  We enjoyed her dancing. (She danced one small part in the corps de ballet on Monday.)

In fact, we appreciated the hard work put in by all the dancers on both evenings.

We sat in the front row on both nights alongside the violinists – which was quite an experience. We could appreciate the arrangements of both pieces of music for a small orchestra.

Richmond Theatre is a lovely theatre but it has a tiny stage – but the dancers coped.

Most of the dancers seemed quite young.  The dancer who danced the role of Clara on Monday, Kesenia Stankevich, was born in 1995. She danced the role of the Spanish Bridge in Swan Lake.

Ksenya Basnet who had the Spanish dance on Monday mentioned by Tango Dancer danced the role of the Neapolitan Bride in Swan Lake. She and Kesenia were also cygnets and girlfriends in Swan Lake.

We also enjoyed the dancing of Rachel Hernon, an English girl. She appears to have moved to Perm to finish her vocational ballet training after Elmhurst. What a step for presumably a 16 year old to take! To move to a city near the Urals. Having also seen her dance on YouTube, I am glad that she persevered. Her Russian must be as good as her dance technique!

Hopefully the dancers with the Moscow City Ballet had the opportunity of coming into London while they were based in Richmond.

Their touring schedule looks exhausting, dancing 6 days a week – with matinees on Saturday.

They did a tour of Poland before Christmas so they must have some stamina!

Hopefully they will bring their productions of Giselle and Sleeping Beauty to Richmond Theatre next year.

My wife and I will certainly support them if they do so. Unless we ballet lovers buy their tickets, we will lose these Russian touring companies - and that would be a shame.

Not all Russian dancers can make it into the Bolshoi or the Mariinsky - but the dancers with the Moscow City Ballet are still very good.

With the logistics of moving the sets and both the dancers and orchestra about from town to town and putting them up in hotels, it must be expensive for them to tour – but hopefully they will show a profit at the end of their UK and Dublin tour.

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