Alexandra Dariescu: The Nutcracker and I
RNCM Theatre, 24 January 2019
This was a late, post-Christmas treat for children of all ages.
There was a lot going on in the show, which was altogether rather splendid, an enchanting blend of music, dance, animation and storytelling. Right from the start you were smitten: the music (all from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, naturally) swept you away to the heavens, as the stage showed a winter night with stars. The stars fell, becoming snowflakes which then dissolved. You were sold – hook, line and sinker.
Desiree Ballantyne, an accomplished ballerina, danced with myriad characters from The Nutcracker – a toy soldier, a prince, a pair of cossacks – all miraculously brought to life through animation. It was magical how the movements of the digital characters (aglitter with all those pulses of light) meshed with that of the carbon-based one (if I can describe the elegant Desiree Ballantyne thus); it was seamlessly synchronised throughout.
Mind, magic was everywhere here. In the excitement of a winter’s night and the delirious anticipation of gifts and life to come. In the bountiful dreams of childhood – for the moment joyously alive, with no suggestion of the possibility of loss or disappointment. In the belief in an eternal future. And also in the steadfast loyalty and devotion of beloved pets (not to mention parents).