Magical winter wonderland

24 November 2020

Junior reviewer Saskia Haluszkiewicz describes the immersive experience of being swept up into Clara’s world in the Nutcracker.

Nutcracker, West Australian Ballet ·
His Majesty’s Theatre, 21 November 2020 ·
Junior review by Saskia Haluszkiewicz, age 10 ·

On opening night of Nutcracker the intricate architecture of His Majesty’s Theatre was all lit up and I was greeted with white flakes falling apparently from the sky – I knew I was in for a magical evening. When we went into the theatre, we saw a snow effect landing onstage and I got extremely excited. As the overture started it felt like we were in a winter wonderland.

The Nutcracker music by Tchaikovsky was so beautifully played by the West Australian Philharmonic Orchestra, we were at once in Clara’s world. The West Australian Ballet, with their grace and agility, captured my imagination.

The sets and props, designed by Phil R Daniels, and the costumes, designed by Charles Cusick Smith, were stunning and very clever. The sets moved from one scene to another seamlessly. I loved how smoothly the sleigh moved and how the mechanical rats, with their bright green eyes, darted across the stage. I also loved the start of Act 2, when we could see the sleigh behind the scrim drifting across the stage on smoke, so that it looked like it was in the clouds. It was very clever how the dolls came to life in a magical way and the clock and the Christmas tree changed. The colourful costumes so suited every one of the characters; they were beautiful, funny, mysterious and exotic.

The choreography by Jayne Smeulders, Sandy Delasalle and Artistic Director Aurelien Scannella, was magnificent. The snowflake dance movements matched the delicate shapes of the snowflake design on the set, and the dancing flowers were pink roses whose arm movements reminded me of petals opening and closing. The Chinese dancers were funny, the Spanish dancers were fiery and the Arabian dancers were mysterious and flowing. The male dancers slid the female dancers across the stage very expertly which made me laugh.

The Nutcracker/Sugar Prince, danced by Julio Blanes, and the Sugar Plum Fairy, danced by Candice Adea, were breathtaking in their pas de deux; their pirouettes and leaps were as if they weren’t touching the ground. Clara, danced by Asja Petrovski, was light and airy and young. My favourite pieces of music in the ballet are the “Sugar Plum Fairy” and the “Waltz of the Flowers”, but I also especially liked the Russian dancer, Jesse Homes, who leapt so high he was almost flying. The children were also very good and had a big part in the festive Christmas scenes at the beginning.

Nutcracker is a wonderful ballet for ages six to adult. All the dancers were beautiful and were in perfect timing and it was entertaining and enchanting for everyone. I would definitely see it again.

The Nutcracker continues until 13 December 2020. Read Nina Levy’s review of Nutcracker.

Pictured top: Oscar Valdes as The Nutcracker, Carina Roberts as Clara and the dancers of West Australian Ballet in “Nutcracker” (2020). Photo by Bradbury Photography.

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Junior Reviewer

At Seesaw we believe that shows designed for children should be reviewed by children. Our junior reviewers write an honest response, in their own words. Their contributions are a vital part of the arts playground.

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