Christmas present wrapped up nice and early; The Nutcracker, Newcastle Theatre Royal until Saturday.
Byline: Tamzin Mackie
NORTHERN Ballet's Christmas confection is an absolute delight from its crisp coating of technique to its gooey interior of nostalgia.
This is a reworked version of the Leeds-based company's production which toured in 2011 and it retains all the same elements of enchantment.
The Christmas Eve party is held in a chintzy country house in Regency England, giving reason for gorgeously muted empire-line dresses, dandyish breeches and cutaway jackets.
Family members, young and old, are nicely drawn, with children on wooden scooters zooming across the stage and performing playful sword fights.
Rachael Gillespie's joyful Clara is an absolute treat, solidly accompanied by her dashing Nutcracker Prince (Ashley Dixon).
The eccentric conjurer, Herr Drosselmeyer (Matthew Topliss), unveils a magical Chinese box at the party, which sets the scene for an Oriental Land of Sweets, overseen by an incandescent Sugar Plum Fairy (Lucia Solari).
Lavish set changes include the magical pine forest full of fluttering snowflakes where the charm of the piece is augmented by an injection of kitsch, in the form of a noddinghead reindeer pulling a sledge.
This production, choreographed by artistic director David Nixen, retains many of the original elements of Marius Petipa's 1892 libretto, in addition to Tchaikovsky's score performed by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia.
Fairy dust, a man on the moon, cute mice and a girl's dream come true Northern Ballet have this one wrapped.
Rachael Gillespie as Clara with Ashley Dixon <Bin The Nutcracker Prince