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Review: The Nutcracker

An enchanting pre-Christmas treat!

by David Simmons

In the wonderful make-believe world of Ballet, stories of love, romance and friendship come to life with the powerful and somewhat eloquent energy of dance at its core. For a sparkling October showcase, the company from Joburg Ballet brings the timeless story of The Nutcracker to the Joburg Theatre’s Nelson Mandela stage. With a slick production and choreography by Angela Malan and artistic management by Iain McDonald & Lauren Slade, the exquisite company have masterfully embodied the music of Tchaikovsky in a wonderful 2 Act pre-Christmas treat.

The Nutcracker has become synonymous with the festivities of Christmas and Holiday cheer and there is no doubt that this offering will have wide appeal to young and older ballet enthusiasts. There is something quite powerful about the fascination and charm of classical ballet, however each theatre goer will experience and take home something completely different. This appealing and magical art form, now more than ever, has a larger appeal to audiences who are interested in discovering something unique and different.

The Nutcracker has been seen throughout the ages for over 100 years and still has magically retained its values and sentimentality.  It has become an almost cult ritual that celebrates the end of a year with sparkle and smiles. Throughout the year Johannesburg audiences have been privileged to witness a number of internationally acclaimed Ballets and The Nutcracker delivers a worthy admiration

It all begins one Christmas Eve where we are invited into a house full of party goers, family and friends who decorate a beautiful and towering Christmas tree. We meet the beautiful young Clara, played by Ana Paulino, who is gifted a toy Nutcracker from her Godfather, Dr Drosselmeyer, performed by Craig Hedderwick, only to discover that her ‘gift’ turns into a handsome prince at midnight. Both Clara and her prince take a magical journey to the Kingdom of the Sweets to rejoice in a display of dancing and cheerfulness.

Along the way we get to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Snow Queen and a group of deliciously eccentric characters. As any magical story goes, there is a great deal more to behold especially with a company who are all effortless in their undertaking.

Audiences continue to remain in awe of a very young and hugely talented company. How refreshing to witness passionate dancers who have the ability to hone in their craft and mould into their respective characters. Stand out performances in this production, are the wonderfully eloquent Nicole Ferreira -Dill who embodied the Snow Queen with ease and Shannon Glover who was graceful in her rendering of The Sugar Plum Fairy. Claudia Monya as always shows strength and ease in her ability as a principal dancer . Credit needs to be given to the hugely talented Armando Barros, Leusson Muniz, Revil Yon and Ruan Galdino, a quadruplet threat who individually make the art of storytelling through movement and dance all the more wonderful to watch.

Understated yet powerful sets have a captivating feel especially when we are transported to different scenic changes. This production is joined by the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and under the baton of Conductor Eddie Clayton is it wonderful to hear all the memorable music we have come to love.

Considering The Nutcrackers short run, we would suggest you clear your calendars for the week and make a date with Joburg Ballet to experience this classic ballet and beautiful story telling at its best.

The Nutcracker will be running at the Joburg Theatre until 14th of October 2018. Tickets are available at Webtickets or at the theatre.

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