Nutcracker – English National Ballet: London Coliseum, 15 December 2016

Nut again

There must be some kind of mousetake. Oh, it's fine, it's ENB's Nutcracker. Photo by Arnaud Stephenson

There must be some kind of mousetake. Oh, it’s fine, it’s ENB’s Nutcracker. Photo by Arnaud Stephenson

I’ve reviewed this show several times now and I’d be lying if I said it was my favourite production. Over the past few years however, some ever-improving tweaks have been introduced and tonight’s performance was undoubtedly the best I’ve seen so far. And that’s almost entirely due to the dancing.

At the top-end we had Alina Cojocaru and rising-kid-on-the-block Cesar Corrales as adult Clara and Nephew respectively. Cojocaru was her usual elegant self, a little cool perhaps at times, but full of poise and the most beautiful flow of limbs.

Corrales is an insanely exciting soloist with jumps to pick stars out of the sky with but his partnering needs work – there were moments he was concentrating so hard on his handling of Cojocaru he looked like he was rewiring an atom bomb. He is, however, still young and the necessary equanimity will surely develop with experience.

The National dances were engaging, especially Katja Khaniukova’s kick-ass Chinese, and Lauretta Summerscales made the Mirlitons look good despite the unedifying tangle of sleeves that adorn her outfit.

I wouldn’t normally pick out one of the children for a special mention but I have to say I was impressed with Sophia Mucha’s young Clara. She was a rare case of a student not just doing the steps but she was also acting her role extremely well and clearly feeling the music. She has some outrageous extensions to boot and must be all of about ten years old.

Finally, the corps were outstanding. The precision of the snowflakes bodes extremely well for the Company’s January revival of Mary Skeaping’s traditional production of Giselle.

English National Ballet’s Nutcracker continues at the London Coliseum until 7 January 2017. See the ENB website for more info and tickets.

Gerard Davis

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