The Nutcracker is always popular this time of the year but this year we have an unusually heavy crop. In the UK we have:
- The Royal Ballet's up to 14 Jan 2016 at Covent Garden which is almost entirely sold out;
- The Birmingham Royal Ballet's until 13 Dec at the Birmingham Hippodrome which is almost sold out;
- English National Ballet's at the Coliseum from 16 Dec 2015 to 10 Jan 2016 where the tickets are selling like hot cakes; and
- Northern Ballet's at the Grand in Leeds from 16 Dec 2015 until 2 Jan 2016 for which there is still some availability.
You can also watch the Royal Ballet's cinema transmission on the 16 Dec and the Bolshoi's on the 20 Dec 2015 (see Live Performances streamed from the Bolshoi and Covent Garden 20 Sept 2015).
If you live in Scotland you had the chance to see Peter Darrell's version for Scottish Ballet last year which I reviewed in Like meeting an old friend after so many years 4 Jan 2015. You will have to wait until the new year to see Ballet West's (see Ballet West's Next Tour 2 Dec 2015).
Outside the UK I would love to see Jeroen Verbruggen for the Geneva Ballet which is about to tour France (see Geneva Nutcracker 25 Nov 2015). Also on offer is Wayne Eagling's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King the synopsis of which sounds very similar to English National Ballet's except that the Stahlbaums have become the Staalbooms and seem to have acquired a pad in Amsterdam as well as another on the banks of the Thames.
Although I grew up with English National Ballet's I have not really taken to Eagling's version. I don't take kindly to Anglicizing the Stahlbaums or indeed transposing Swan Lake from Mitteleuropa to New England. If I wanted innovation in my favourite ballets I would go to Matthew Bourne or Verbruggen.
Having said that I shall be in the audience with my classmates from The Dance Studio Leeds on the 18 Dec 2015 to see the adventures of "Clara Edwards" in Northern Ballet's and I will also try to catch Ballet West's and the Bolshoi's HDTV transmission. Alas I shall miss the Royal Ballet's which is by far the best in my book. As I can't get to the so called "Midlands engine" to see it this year I shall catch Peter Wright's version from the Birmingham Royal Ballet in November or December next year.
Whichever version you patronize, chums, enjoy it.