6 reasons to see Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker at Liverpool Empire
2 years ago
Matthew Bourne’s ballets are always spectacular – and Nutcracker! is no exception and it’s on until Saturday at Liverpool Empire
With a contemporary twist on a classic tale, it’s kitsch and colourful, glam and glitzy, making it one of Bourne’s most popular productions.
It’s on at the Empire until Saturday, and here’s 6 reasons to get your skates on and treat yourself to a ticket…
1. Bourne’s Nutcracker!
And here’s where the magic begins with an extravagant and new imagining of a well-known story … Instead of Christmas Eve in the Stahlbaum’s house where a party is underway, Bourne’s Nutcracker! begins in Dr Dross’s Dickensian-like Orphanage where Dr Dross and Matron are preparing for a festive visit from the Governors, before we’re transported to Sweetieland after orphan Clara’s doll turns into a real-life man. A bit like in The Wizard of Oz the world moves from monochrome to pure technicolour as it whisks us away from the dull and monotonous into a land of total fantasy. It’s a story of first love, growing up and a fabulous adventure.
2. Cracking costumes and characters
Sweetieland is like being sucked into the middle of a giant pink bubble gum balloon, and its residents are ‘delicious’. All the earlier characters appear in Clara’s fantasy reincarnated as sweets: there’s a group of Wag-type marshmallow girls in top and tail fluff and feathers, some flamenco-dancing Liquorice Allsorts, laddish Gobstoppers in bovver boots, denim and bright-coloured bike helmets, and a Knickerbocker Glory with puffed up pantaloons and whipped-cream-swirled hair. It’s an explosion of colour with a heavy dose of humour.
3. It’s family-friendly
Some of Matthew Bourne’s ballets can be dark and twisty but Nutcracker! is a firm family favourite, with its simple tale of young love, a wild imagination and, above all, a happy ending. It’s larger than life characters are brilliantly brought to life by Bourne’s amazing dancers, and his beautiful and dramatic choreography. But don’t think it’s all pomp and seriousness, along with his Gobstoppers and Marshmallows, Bourne adds humour into the pick-and-mix and there are laugh-out loud moments.
4. Spectacular sets
Each scene is superbly set from the austere world of the orphanage to serene scenes on a frozen lake, and the arrival in Sweetieland when the brightness filter is turned on full for cloud-filled, bright-blue skies, lip-lined entrances and a giant iced wedding cake. Think over-the-top Hollywood blockbusters from the 1930s meets the incandescence of a rave.
5. Musical magic
Tchaikovsky might not be top of your play list, but you’ll amazed at how many of the tunes you know, and they’ll all have you humming along, from the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy to the Danse de mirlitons (that’s Everyone’s a Fruit and Nutcase to you and me!).
And that’s not just the ones on stage (or from the giant mouth that leads you into Sweetieland). Whether it’s the incredible dance, the lift-you-up melodies, the extravagant scenes or the flamboyant characters – or just the OTT spectacle of it all, you have a beaming smile on your face from the moment it starts to the moment you leave – and then for a long time after.