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Review: Queensland ballet’s The Nutcracker: A festive celebration not to miss!

By Liv Wilson

Choreographer Ben Stevenson OBE

Composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Costume Designer Desmond Heeley

Set Designer Thomas Boyd

Lighting Designer David Walters

Conductor and Music Arranger Nigel Gaynor

Orchestra Queensland Symphony Orchestra

Choir Voices of Birralee and St Peter’s Lutheran College Choir

At QPAC Playhouse Theatre until 23rd December 2022. Bookings:

It’s Christmas Eve and under tinsel and twinkling fairy lights, young Clara and Fritz are given new toys. But a visit from the mysterious Dr Drosselmeyer puts plans in a spin when he gives Clara a special wooden Nutcracker doll.

When the clock strikes twelve, nothing is as it seems! In a daring dreamscape, Clara and the Nutcracker Prince journey across a Lemonade Sea to the Kingdom of Sweets, for a midnight rendezvous of delectable delights and enchanting entertainment.

Queensland Ballet transported the audience at The Playhouse Theatre to the magical world of Christmas cheer in their 10th season of The Nutcracker.

Queensland Ballet’s ever-impressive Artistic Director Li Cunxin not only curated an incredible 2022 season but a wonderful interpretation of the classic Christmas favourite. I was blown away by the sheer spectacle of the production; from the detailed set to the intricate costumes, to the triumphant orchestra and, of course, the breathtaking dancers. The Nutcracker was a festive celebration of a superb cohort of creatives.

While there were many outstanding performances in this production I cannot help but circle back to my admiration for Patricio Revé as The Prince. Revé showcased everything a male dancer should: strength, poise and undeniable love for his craft. The emotion Revé attached to each step translated through to the audience. His performance in the Sugar Plum pas de deux was really something to behold.

Yanela Piñera was a stunning Sugar Plum Fairy and created a character beyond anything I’d seen from other productions. A truly beautiful connection to her character and her pas de deux partner. Mia Heathcote, a shining light in the Queensland Ballet scene, was gorgeous throughout the evening. The Dance of the Snowflakes was led by Heathcote’s gracious and intricate dancing. Lucy Green and David Power as the Leaf Couple brought so much joy to the stage with their pas de deux. Their love for dance came through in their every move and their partner work was effortless.

One of the most magical elements of The Nutcracker is the gorgeous set and how it places you in these wonderfully magical places throughout Clara’s dreamscape. The design was very clever and it was executed by stagehands perfectly. The reveal of the Christmas tree was spectacular and it brought my inner child such joy to see it rise up towering over the characters on stage.

The transition between battle to snow was the most gorgeous (and intricate) stage work I’ve seen in any production of The Nutcracker. The quick set change and instantaneous fall of glittering snow throughout the theatre is something that I will never forget. Bravo to the stage management and the backstage stage hands for their work in bringing this moment to life.

One of the eternal joys of this particular ballet is the involvement of young performers. The whole ensemble dances were entertaining and rehearsed very well. With such professional role models, the young artists and dancers have a platform to transition into great representatives of Queensland Ballet in the coming years.

It’s no secret that Queensland Ballet knows how to celebrate Christmas but there is something extra special about this production of The Nutcracker that I implore everyone to witness first hand. I do believe this is one of the best introductions to ballet that younger children can have.

Lu Cunxin says that “Christmas is synonymous with The Nutcracker within the Queensland Ballet community” and I can attest to the real joy and truth behind his words having seen the 10th season of this production.

Queensland Ballet has extended their season of The Nutcracker until the 23rd December 2022 with multiple performances on various show days. Tickets start from $78.


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