Queensland Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker returns to QPAC for its eleventh straight year, welcoming the festive season with snowflakes, sugar plums and sleighs.
The enchanting story follows Clara as she journeys through winter wonderlands to the Kingdom of Sweets with the magical Nutcracker Prince. While the tale stays the same, Queensland Ballet continues to bring the magic of Christmas each performance.
Tchaikovsky’s bubbly and familiar overture begins the show, setting the scene for the innocent excitement of Christmas Eve. The curtain rises to a family Christmas party, a delightful chaos of colour and characters. A collection of little stories fills the stage; children arguing over toys and grandparents looking for a moment of quiet. Each dancer plays their role wonderfully, ensuring no character gets lost in the amusing busyness onstage.
As the evening draws to a close and the clock strikes midnight, Clara’s adventure is just beginning. Bronte Kielly-Coleman plays the young protagonist with both bewilderment and flair, watching on as her beloved Nutcracker comes to life to defeat the King Rat. Thomas Boyd’s grand set design soon transforms from the warm and cosy home to the enchanting Land of Snow, complete with glittering snowflakes falling across the stage. Welcoming Clara and Nutcracker, the Snow Queen and Snow Prince, played by Chiara Gonzalez and Patricio Revé, deliver a beautiful performance with the Snowflakes. Accompanied by the delicate Voices of Birralee and sparkling falling snow, the entire performance is a captivating and romantic spectacle.
The second act sees Clara and Nutcracker enjoying the treats and amusements offered by the Kingdom of Sweets. Following the energetic performances with bustling children and toy soldiers, act two is more visually subdue, though the entertainment never slips. The modest performances of the second half allow the audience to focus solely on the dancers, taking the opportunity to admire the talent and technique within the company. Chiara Gonzalez and Alexander Idaszak as the Arabian Dancers along with Vito Bernasconi as the Russian Dancer were highlights. Both performances showed incredible strength and finesse in roles that demand both. The young dancers of course return with Mother Ginger, charming the crowd once again. Principal Artist Mia Heathcote shines as the Sugar Plum Fairy, performing a grand pas de deux with Nutcracker Prince, fellow Principal Artist Victor Estévez. Heathcote dances with grace and passion, while Estêvez matches her expertise to deliver the beautiful and sweeping finale.
Queensland Ballet’s annual performance of The Nutcracker has become a Christmas tradition, and each year it’s clear why. The magical tale of toys coming to life and dancing sugar plums always brings out the festive spirit for the audience, and Queensland Ballet continues to deliver a stunning show each time. Whether it be a starting a family tradition, looking for some Christmas cheer or admiring the talent of the company, The Nutcracker is not to be missed.