The Scottish Ballet perform the Nutcracker

In a deliberate step away from the sweet feeling of Christmas comes the Nutcracker from the Scottish Ballet. Greatly going against the grain of Tchaikovsky’s grain is the choreography from Ashley Page which brings an exciting darker side to the story of cartoon like designs from Antony McDonald.

This was the Christmas ballet that Page had worked on for the company and he managed to shift the action to Weimar Germany meaning the reintroduction specific elements from the original story of ETA Hoffmann. This however causes a muddle as the play within a play portraying the complex tale of Princess Pirlipat.

It has been noted that the production is trying to come across somewhat creepy with McDonald’s front cloth displaying a girl who is showing a nut like brain due to a split in her head. The emerging snowflakes pinch and torment the heroine of the story, Marie but quite why they are so spiteful is not clear to the audience.

The ballet offers a variety of clever touches too with Tchaikovsky’s party music suggesting soldierly boys disrupting the games of gentle girls however page recasts adult and children clashing through their party behaviour. McDonald’s elegant 1920s frocks bring the glamorous scene to life as a loud, unexpected grown up conga line crashes through the room with it’s doll’s house style.

Performances are bold and clean during this revival and it is really clear to see that Scottish Ballet’s new artistic director really has inherited a institution in very good shape, boasting a variety of strong soloists. Marie is portrayed by Sophie Martin who offers an appealing performance throughout from her soft, beautiful dancing to the wide eyed party scenes and she is well partnered with the Nutcracker Prince who is boldly depicted by Christopher Harrison.