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Review: The Nutcracker

Director: Blanche McIntyre
Writers: Hattie Naylor & Paul Dodgson
Designer: Rhys Jarman
Musical director & arranger: Malcolm Newton
Cast: Sandy Batchelor, John Biddle, Jonathan Glew, Krystian Godlewski, Alex Griffin-Griffiths, Hannah Lee, Saskia Portway, Augustina Seymour

I’m about two months late to post this, but I’m gonna do it anyway.

Early in December I started volunteering for the Nuffield Theatre, just in time for their Christmas show: none other than The Nutcracker, one of my favorite classic Christmas stories. It was so fun and definitely the one of the highlights of my December (and Christmas).

The Nutcracker follows the story of Clara that received a wooden nutcracker as a Christmas present from Doctor Drosselmeier. To her surprise, the nutcracker came into live as the clock struck midnight, bringing her to a big adventure, from a visit to the Land of Sweets to the battle with the Mouse King.

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It’s hard to pick my favorite part of this play. For one thing, the cast ensemble was magnificent. They acted, sang, and played the instruments, so mercifully. The acting was brilliant (the part when Elias became a nutcracker was really convincing!), the interaction with the audience was great as they involved the audience in some of the scenes. For instance, the battle scene really entertained the kids, I actually saw some kids screamed in glee a few times (and to be honest, I also enjoyed throwing the rubber balls to the audience for their ‘ammunition’ to fight the malicious Mouse King, another perk of being an usher!).

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Another thing is the music. All the songs were stuck in my head for hours after the play ended, in a good way. The harmony of the voices made it even better, completed with great tunes from the instruments (which were played by the cast — they sure did bring the word ‘multitasking’ to a whole new level). The last song closed the play in such glory that kept me feeling cheered for the next few hours.

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But the best of all, was the set. It wasn’t just a regular set, it was a rotating set comprised of three parts, each was decorated beautifully (and efficiently). Clara’s bedroom was adorable, and the kitchen and the living room were nice. The trapdoors were used brilliantly. Kurt’s house in Nuremberg was also a great piece of work. My favorite? Of course, the Land of Sweet. Gingerbread house with glittering sprinkles, colorful slides, topped with enormous glowing candies hung on the ceiling. So, so, so beautiful. My favorite part of the show was when the set was rotated and the Land of Sweet came into sight. I could literally hear everyone gasped in amazement.

I saw the show eight or nine times, and I never got bored with it. I would’ve come and seen it again if they’d still played in the Nuffield Theatre. The combo of great actors-slash-musicians-slash-singers, brilliant set and wonderful music was just… beyond words.

This marvelous show adds to my already-long list of my favorite things about living in Southampton, something that I would look back fondly when I don’t live here anymore.

Photos are courtesy of the Nuffield Theatre, taken from here.

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