The Nutcracker needs little introduction, and tells the story of Clara who is whisked away to a magical land by the Nutcracker Prince to celebrate the defeat of the Rat King. This traditional ballet retains virtually all of its charm and Tchaikovsky’s instantly recognisable score remains a musical treat.
Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet return with their annual tour of classic pieces, presented very much in the archetypal style of traditional ballet, with tutu’s and tights aplenty, a static set of rather plain backdrops, a virtually non-existent use of props and a dance space which allowed the performance to flood the stage with a bevy of dancers.
Aside from the fixed grins, slightly loose synchronicity and a few heavy footfalls, the quality of performance in this tour seems to be much better than previous ones, with the cast putting in their all and some nimble and impressive dancing nestled amongst the rather safe choreography. It is not the most luxurious production you will see, but it remains functional and allows for the focus to be on the performances and music.
With an easily followed narrative and the second act consisting primarily of short set pieces, the ballet progresses at a pleasing pace, making it a great starting place for ballet novices and families with younger children.
Overall, the show is a pleasant and undemanding evening at the theatre, which remains firmly rooted in the traditional style. There is nothing innovative, ground-breaking or new in this production, but if you are seeking a very traditionally performed, accessible ballet in the classic style, then the St Petersburg Classic Ballet could well be just what you are looking for.
The Nutcracker is at the Sheffield Lyceum until 11th January 2020 before continuing on its national tour