Pretty in Pink colourful ballet

Matthew Bourne and Tchaikovsky what a pas de deux

Pure escapism which goes from seeing everything in black and white to a chromaticity of colour, that was Tuesday night, February 2, at the Bristol Hippodrome.

I felt like I have been to the circus, carnival, ice-show and Christmas pantomime all in two short hours in the company of Willy Wonka and his strictly ballroom ballet dancers.

Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! may be a confused coming-of-age love story but it bedazzles and entertains its audience in huge helpings of candy-coated choreography.

The ballet opens in the depths of gloom in an orphanage dormitory which is a cross between Annie and Cell Block H run by a leather-clad Herr Flick of ‘Allo ‘Allo fame, his wife and two spoilt children.

But is moves quickly on to party time and fantasy land.

This ballet has humour, the audience chuckled when CPR was performed on the broken doll – they also shouted ‘bravo’ loudly when they stood for the final encore.

The costumes are fan-tast-ic, the company fab-u-lous and the set surprises with some surreal and reflective Hollywood 1930s moments.

The music – soundtrack by Tchaikovsky - is mind-blowingly good although with the clouds in the sky and harps in Act One I thought they had all died and gone to heaven not skating in the frozen park in Swan Lake style!

Likewise, when the boys (whoops one was a girl) in stripped pyjamas and blond(e) hairdos (Keenan Fletcher and Rose Goddard) appear sprouting wings, I thought they were angels not cupids – should have read the programme first.

That said, it was a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with true lovehearts in the finale in a kaleidoscope of confectionary and wedding cake.

Jonathon Luke Baker was outstanding as Knickerbocker Glory, the five-strong marshmallow Pink Ladies were a quintessential delight as we followed the rom-com of loved-up leading lady Clare (Katrina Lyndon) and her beau Harrison Dowzell as Philbert the Nutcracker.

In fact, all the cast where gobsmackingly great with tip-top dancing in many styles without wearing classical pointe shoes.

Billed as ‘the sweetest of all Matthew Bourne’s treats…with family-sized helpings of Bourne’s trademark wit, pathos and magical fantasy’ Nutcracker! Is a ballet not to be missed.

The video is a bit of a spoiler but had to show you how great the show is, sorry.

Carol Deacon

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This production plays at The Bristol Hippodrome until from Saturday, February 5. To book online tickets from £13.00 plus transaction fee of £3.60 click HERE