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Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker (Tour - Salford)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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Just when you think he can’t possibly do anything else, he manages to find that extra sparkle. Matthew Bourne is back with a truly captivating adaptation of a much-loved classic, The Nutcracker, and once again, he fails to disappoint.

The story is one of fairytales and nightmares, of first love and of first hate, as we are transported into the mind of Clara the orphan and invited to share in her visually enchanting dreams. As usual, the show contains all the Bourne classics that make the choreographer stand out from the crowd - the fusion of styles, from classic ballet, to contemporary, to flamenco, and the use of a traditional score, which in this case is Tchaikovsky.

His imaginative storytelling is truly magical, and is told with sheer professionalism by his cast of versatile dancers. Hannah Vassallo, as Clara, is an absolute delight to watch. Her characterisation cannot be faulted, and her elegance and watchability are of the highest possible standards.

Ashley Shaw (Sugar and Princess Sugar) and Dominic North (Fritz and Prince Bon-Bon) are similarly engaging performers, providing some stunning pas-de-deuxs throughout the course of the evening. The ensemble never once lose their energy, maintaining unison when needed and having an air of spontaneity that keeps the show alive.

There is just one minor factor that could prove to be the icing on the Nutcracker cake. While the music is beautiful and complimentary to the movement of the performers, and while it might not be feasible, it would be spine-tingling if it could be played by a live orchestra.

But, once again, Bourne has well and truly cracked his way into theatre heaven - a deliciously feel-good production, with a mind-blowing set, that needs to be seen to be believed.


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