The Nutcracker, ballet review: 'A fresh account of Tchaikovsky’s marvellous score'

English National Ballet, London Coliseum

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The Independent Culture

English National Ballet dance The Nutcracker with energy and understanding, brightening up Wayne Eagling’s uneven production. From Micaela Infante’s child Clara to Daria Klimentová’s grown-up ballerina, the dancing brings real fizz to the ballet.

The Nutcracker is a core part of English National Ballet, which dances it every Christmas. The current staging has muddled storytelling, with some bizarre divertissement dances and a confusing switch in the hero’s identity. Peter Farmer’s costumes are pretty, with Edwardian party dresses and sparkly tutus, but his scenery is drab.

Klimentová makes a vivid heroine, engaging in her magical journey. There’s a gleaming precision to her dancing, with fine line and speedy turns. Vadim Muntagirov is an ardent cavalier, partnering her warmly. His own dancing is beautifully polished: his jumps are high, his lines clean.

As the Nutcracker, Junor Souza leads the mouse battle with dashing attack. James Streeter dances the Mouse King with comic gusto, rallying his troops. Ksenia Ovysyanick stands out as the heroine’s sister and as a lead snowflake, dancing with fluent authority.

The whole company dances well in the corps and divertissement dances. Conductor Gavin Sutherland leads English National Ballet’s orchestra in a fresh account of Tchaikovsky’s marvellous score.

Until 5 January. Box office 020 7845 9300