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Northern Ballet Nutcracker 2022 Woking and on tour


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This delightfully fresh, cheerful, colourful, charming and beguiling production opened tonight in Woking and is a definite audience pleaser with a lot to enjoy. Gavin McCaig worked much magic as Herr Drosselmeyer and his smile was infectious throughout. Nothing dark or sinister there. Rachael Gillespie as Clara is perfectly paired with Harris Beattie as the Nutcracker Prince. The NB Sinfonia sparkled under the baton of Jonathan Lo. A joyful evening.

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HNot related to what sounds like a magnificent (and very very early) performance of The Nutcracker, but I’ve just found out that New Victoria Theatre Woking has seating for 1300, which makes it larger than the Old Vic (1067), Hackney Empire (1275) and  Theatre Royal Haymarket, (893). The production sounds very good....might check it out.

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It's a very nice theatre, and not far from the station - fast trains from Waterloo, Clapham Junction and so on.  It was only the exorbitant ATG booking fee which took the price above what I could afford, even with the major World Ballet Day offer :( 

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9 hours ago, Emeralds said:

(and very very early) performance of The Nutcracker

 

It may seem early, but it was a very welcome antidote to doom and gloom.  indeed, with less than 50 days until Christmas diaries are getting full.  the timing probably has much to do with theatre availability (NB will be dancing Nutcracker on tour in Woking, Nottingham, Norwich & Hull until 3rd December before settling in to Leeds Grand from 20th December - 7th January), the logistics of touring (NB have been on the road in Southampton & London) and, competitive seasonal entertainments (December has regional theatres brimful of pantos, parks are full of illuminated walks etc).

 

The Christmas tree is now alight in Covent Garden piazza, the festive themed decorations are being put in place this week at the ROH.  Much festive-themed entertainment is getting underway in the next week too.  e.g. Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty starts its regional run this weekend as does A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic. Ice skating opens at Battersea Power Station on the 11th, Somerset House & Hampton Court Palace a few days later.  i am coming to accept that December 25th has become more of an end date than a start date for festive celebrations as it was when i was a child.

Edited by PeterS
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11 hours ago, PeterS said:

 

It may seem early, but it was a very welcome antidote to doom and gloom.  indeed, with less than 50 days until Christmas diaries are getting full.  the timing probably has much to do with theatre availability (NB will be dancing Nutcracker on tour in Woking, Nottingham, Norwich & Hull until 3rd December before settling in to Leeds Grand from 20th December - 7th January), the logistics of touring (NB have been on the road in Southampton & London) and, competitive seasonal entertainments (December has regional theatres brimful of pantos, parks are full of illuminated walks etc).

 

The Christmas tree is now alight in Covent Garden piazza, the festive themed decorations are being put in place this week at the ROH.  Much festive-themed entertainment is getting underway in the next week too.  e.g. Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty starts its regional run this weekend as does A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic. Ice skating opens at Battersea Power Station on the 11th, Somerset House & Hampton Court Palace a few days later.  i am coming to accept that December 25th has become more of an end date than a start date for festive celebrations as it was when i was a child.

You’re right, PeterS, I spotted some people’s Christmas lights up today and I must admit that after looking at their photos and trailer, it felt more Christmassy and cheerful the ballet is a nice antidote to the grim aggression and road rage that were very prevalent yesterday due to the Tube strike, blocked motorway and roadworks.

 

Really wanted to see this Nutcracker after seeing your post and pictures but unfortunately, the rail connections from my neck of the woods won’t get me there in time after work for the start of the show, which is ironic as it’s nearer us (as the crow flies) than the Royal Opera House,but takes longer to get to Woking than to Covent Garden! And this Saturday is already fully booked. I’ll look out for them next year and keep a weekend free now that I know they might be bringing their Nutcracker south again. 

20 hours ago, alison said:

It's a very nice theatre, and not far from the station - fast trains from Waterloo, Clapham Junction and so on.  It was only the exorbitant ATG booking fee which took the price above what I could afford, even with the major World Ballet Day offer :( 

Indeed- £3.80 plus their “show cancellation insurance” (an annoying thing that I’ve seen some theatres putting on now- Fairfield Halls is another doing it) which brings booking fees above £6! I was considering getting tickets in person before the show (still plenty of tickets left) just to wind them up 😆- perhaps you can do that ? You can save on the fee that way. Unfortunately after checking the rail timetables we can’t actually go this time round- the journey time is too long and we are booked up for the weekend..... unfortunately there are just too many shows this week. But the casts looked great and I’d love to have seen it. 

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Recently, Jun Ishii joined the Northern Ballet and just debuted in the Chinese Dance in Nutcracker. He graduated from Berlin Ballet School. I've seen him here in Berlin in Marcia Haydee's Sleeping Beauty as Ali  Baba, and he "brought the house down". A very talented dancer, so watch out for him.  

If you are on instagram, here is his solo as Ali Baba:

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CeXI-AFoqco/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

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 I was in Nottingham for the two performances of Northern Ballet's Nutcracker on Thursday.

 

Bearing in mind that this is a touring production that goes to theatres with some pretty small stages it is on a smaller scale than people may be used to with BRB or RB but it is nevertheless an attractive show.

 

David Nixon's Drosselmeyer is not in the least bit sinister and he relishes making the children happy.  The party scene is set in Georgian England, well reflected in the gorgeous costumes.  Some years ago we saw a talk by David about Act 2 where he said that the national dances represented places on the tea trading routes of yore and there is a rather elaborate looking tea-caddy at the back of the stage where Clara and the Nutcracker Prince can oversee the proceedings.  

 

This tour is giving opportunities to some of the younger and less senior dancers and the two performances I saw on Thursday showed that they really have stepped up to the plate and grabbed the opportunities with both hands.

 

Julie Nunes, who danced Clara at the matinee, may be on the shorter side of tall but she is a very expressive dancer who fills the stage with her personality.  Her Nutcracker Prince was Filippo di Vilio, who was a delight.  Amber Lewis and Joseph Taylor brought a beautiful gravitas to the Grand Pas de Deux.  Gavin McCaig relished the role of Drosselmeyer and was positively oozing good will to all men.

 

In the evening Clara and Nutcracker were beautifully danced and acted by Kirica Takahashi and George Liang.  George really was a romantic lead!  Sarah Chun and Mlindi Kulashe dazzled in the gpdd.  Gavin McCaig again had enormous fun as Drosselmeyer.

 

@Sabine0308 mentioned new dancer Jun Ishii in her post above.  I saw him dancing the Spanish solo with great elan and was part of the Russian trio in the evening.  I must say he really caught my eye and I look forward to seeing more of him.

 

All in all this is a joyful production and, despite the all day torrential rain on Thursday, I floated back to my hotel feeling positively uplifted.

 

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Thanks for the great reviews and the photos of the cast lists, Jan. Glad you got to see two casts. Really,  really wish I’d been able to catch them this year in Woking. Hopefully I can see it next year; sounds like a great production and I’d also like to have heard their orchestra playing Tchaikovsky’s glorious music.

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