The principal dancers in the English National Ballet's Nutcracker have been praised, but some reviewers have questioned the production's interpretation: 'At times more like a garish pantomime,' wrote Anne Sacks in the Independent on Sunday; 'Aims for the lowest common denominator,' wrote Jeffery Taylor in the Mail on Sunday.
'The production is very easy to understand, it's very straightforward and traditional. Ben Stevenson (choreographer) hasn't tried to be over-creative - the production has been put on that level to let the public really understand what's going on throughout.
' 'Lowest common denominator' is an exageration and 'garish pantomime' is probably used instead of 'energetic'. It is very energetic and the characters are probably slightly larger than life in certain areas but Mr Stevenson did that on purpose.
'I think the public are there to enjoy themselves and also to be educated. It's a mixture of the two. Our Nutcracker doesn't have as much as I would like on the educational side. However, it doesn't make audiences feel uncomfortable: they appreciate it so much because they can really read it.'
RFH, South Bank, London SE1, to Sat (071-928 8800)
Derek Deane is English National Ballet's artistic director