Pros: A charming and majestic-looking musical that can make you smile.
Cons: The lyrics were not always easily understandable in the first half and some performances were stronger than others.
The Nutcracker is a well known and beloved ballet that is widely recognized. Its musical pieces and story create a path that can be developed for the stage. This time, however, the ballet was shown as a musical instead, with lyrics by Nancy Holson.
The overall story line stayed close the original; a family is shown to be celebrating christmas when the uncle (Kris Webb) comes and tells Marie, the 16 year old daughter (Maria Coyne) the story of the nutcracker. This is where the plot whizzes into the realm of kings, queens, mice and fantasy.
Overall, the first half was slightly weaker than the second. The lyrics of some songs were hard to follow due to the fast pace, and the volume between the music and singers was not balanced well, as some performer’s voices were hard to hear. This was particularly true for the song Royal Banquet, as it was simply too fast to understand. That being said, most solo songs were sung beautifully, and a real stand out from the night was The Land of the Sweets, sung by the one and only Sugarplum Fairy. The performance of Leigh Rhianon Coggins, as both head nursemaid and the fairy were great and her songs gave a glimpse into her great voice. Even at the end, her high note proved to be a strong one and she finished off the musical exceptionally. Another great performance came from Jamie Birkett as Mouseyrinks. She was certainly a strong performer and the parody lament of her prolonged death was certainly one of the most amusing parts of the play. The sweethearts of the play, Marie/the princess (played by Maria Coyne) and Cristian Elias/the nutcracker prince (Peter Nash) did a great job together with both of their singing and dancing. The rest of the cast also did well and showed good acting capabilities due to the many role switches in-between.
The stage looked good, and especially so when the back curtains revealed the backdrop for the ending. Some props looked particularly fantastic, such as the majestic blue elephant which managed to catch my eye straight away. The revolving stage proved to be highly helpful to switch the different sets and was a tool that was used well. Overall, the whole look of the musical was great and really put a charm on the production, further creating a sense of holiday spirit.
The venue itself was a great space with several theatre rooms and a bar straight when you come in. The Nutcracker was set in the main house, where the seating proved to be very comfortable. The show started a little late, but the staff proved to be lovely and helpful and my spirits were not dampened.
Overall, the performances proved to be worthy of applause and the look of the production was greatly colorful and majestic. Due to some issues with the volume and pace of the musics and lyrics, the musical of Nutcracker doesn’t quite reach its full potential, but it does make you smile and provides an enjoyable evening.
Lyrics: Nancy Holson
Director: Ollie Fielding
Producer: Peaceful Lion Productions
Booking Until: January 2016
Box office: 020 7609 1800
Booking link: https://www.pleasance.co.uk/event/nutcracker-musical/performances