Children take centre stage in Peter Darrell’s first full length piece for Scottish Ballet, devised in 1973 and revived to acclaim in 2014.
Child performers dance all the young roles, including Clara, which brings an innocence to the whole production and magnifies the magic created by Lez Brotherston’s Victorian picture book design and Christopher Harrison’s imposing Drosselmeyer in the prologue.
Those who want more sophistication are not left wanting, however. A wealth of backstories are created by the adult party goers. And once the party is out of the way Darrell allows the adults to show their true capabilities in the Land of Snow, bringing a delicacy to the corps de ballet and, particularly bold steps from Marge Hendrick’s Snow Queen.
It’s the land of the Sugar Plum Fairy which really enchants, thanks to strong performances from the various sweets, notably Grace Horler. But the pas de deux between Bethany Kingsley-Garner’s Sugar Plum Fairy and Evan Loudon’s Nutcracker is another level all together. Kingsley-Garner has a soft, willowy flowing style that complements Loudon’s austere, efficient athleticism.
Jean-Claude Picard brings a lightness to the Scottish Ballet Orchestra’s reading of Tchaikovsky’s score, helping create a production which sparkles at every level.