The Nutcracker - English National Ballet

Opened 11 December 2019, Closed 5 January 2020 at the London Coliseum

English National Ballet presents Wayne Eagling's acclaimed 'Edwardian' ballet production of The Nutcracker in London this Christmas

On an enchanted Christmas Eve, under the heavy boughs of the candlelit tree Clara battles with the Mouse King and falls in love with a handsome Prince. As the air grows colder and snowflakes begin to fall, Clara and her valiant Nutcracker take a balloon ride across the frost-dusted skyline to the glistening Land of Snow where her adventure really begins. Journey back in time with English National Ballet to a frost-covered, gas lit world and join Clara, her Nutcracker doll and the mysterious Drosselmeyer in this traditional, festive tale for all the family (aged 5 and over).

This production of The Nutcracker - specially created by ENO Artistic Director, Wayne Eagling, with concept by Toer van Schayk, was first seen in London in December 2010, and is English National Ballet's 10th interpretation of this much-loved classic. A world of Edwardian elegance, designed by Peter Farmer, brings to life the eternally popular Tchaikovsky score that features the 'Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy' and many other familiar favourites.

Over 100 dancers and musicians bring Nutcracker to life with exquisite dancing, beautiful sets and Tchaikovsky's popular score played live. From the sound of the orchestra tuning up, to the final bows and cheers, a trip to English National Ballet's Nutcracker is an unforgettable Christmas treat.

PLEASE NOTE: Children under 5 will not be admitted

"Sugar Plums were still on ration when the London Festival Ballet danced its very first Nutcracker back in 1950. English National Ballet (as it is now known) has worn out nine productions since then and now Wayne Eagling's company has unveiled its latest version at the London Coliseum: utterly traditional, thoroughly captivating. Peter Farmer's well-mannered, high Victorian sets and costumes are in stark contrast to the previous lot by the cartoonist Gerald Scarfe... The sheer bankability of little Clara's adventures in a magical realm where rats, fairies and sweetmeats dance to a ravishing Tchaikovsky score can sometimes cause The Nutcracker to dominate a ballet company's schedule. Audiences never tire of it but dancers sometimes do and Eagling has seen to it that the new production is stuffed with plum roles. The party guests of the first act all return in another guise during the second. The Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier are usually parachuted in for their five-minute pas de deux but Eagling integrates them into the narrative. The grown-up fairy steps into the infant Clara's shoes the moment her dream begins, while the Prince doubles as the nephew of Drosselmeyer, the mysterious toymaker." The Sunday Telegraph

"After years of the gaudy, bawdy, Gerald Scarfe-designed production, Wayne Eagling's new version is a breath of fresh air. Designer Peter Farmer has gone back to chocolate-box, high Edwardian nostalgia and it looks ravishing. However, there are changes in the plotline. Clara the girl becomes a woman as soon as she enters her dream, and eventually dons the Swarovski-encrusted mantle of the Sugar Plum Fairy herself, while her saviour/beau switches awkwardly between the Nutcracker and Drosselmeyer's nephew. The Mouse King and his furry, skull-headed hordes are supposed to be a menacing constant presence but lurk rather ineffectually for much of the time, and the Mouse King's death is hastily passed over. Yet there is a joyous quality to this production which makes it feel like pure entertainment. The corps is well drilled, the choreography often enchantingly realised." The London Metro

"The Nutcracker may seem like a simple Christmas bauble of a ballet, but as Wayne Eagling's production for English National Ballet demonstrates, it's tricky to stage. Based on the complicated tale by ETA Hoffmann, its plot accommodates a multiplicity of stories and fantasies, which nestle inside each other like Chinese boxes but don't quite connect. Eagling, in his new version, is determined to reduce the number of boxes. Most of the ballet's original framing story concerning the magician Drosselmeyer's quest to free his nephew from the Nutcracker curse is edited out. Instead, Eagling focuses on Clara, the girl caught up in Drosselmeyer's quest, so that the ballet becomes focused on her first adolescent experience of love... Essentially this is a Nutcracker that relies on the dancing to cast its spell." The Guardian

"For English National Ballet, The Nutcracker isn't just a popular family entertainment. It's an annual tradition that has kept the company afloat for 60 years. For the past eight of them, ENB has been dancing Christopher Hampson's version, with Gerald Scarfe's outlandish caricatures and jokey designs. For this, the company's tenth Nutcracker, their artistic director Wayne Eagling has turned the clock back to a more traditional time... The spectacle is undeniable and Eagling's choreography at its best is very dancey, spirited and pleasingly shaped (if a little challenging in places)." The Times

English National Ballet The Nutcracker in London at the Coliseum opened on 11 December 2019 and closed on 5 January 2020