a Kate West review
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne
at Royce Hall, UCLA, Los Angeles
contact UCLA Central Ticket Office (310) 825-2101 or
Running December 15 – January 2, 2005

Matthew Bourne, that brilliant British choreographer sensation, once again wows Los Angeles audiences with his revival of his 1992 “Nutcracker!” at Royce Hall this holiday season. Known for his wildly flamboyant and uniquely witty adaptations of popular ballets such as “Cinderella” and “Swan Lake” (one of the few outstanding productions seen in Los Angeles that truly deserved a standing ovation), he brings a once-in-a-lifetime experience to audiences with each new show.

This version the “The Nutcracker” places the children in a creepy sterile orphanage where Clara fantasizes about a nutcracker coming to life and taking her to fabulous new experiences. Encountering outlandish characters along the way, (exquisitely costumed in fantastic designs by Anthony Ward, who is also responsible for an incredible set, which at one point includes a giant fully pillow), she returns from Sweetieland empowered to make her escape. Dancing among orphans, Princess Sugar, Prince Bon-Bon, Humbug Bouncer, Queen Candy, Cupids and many more, Clara’s dance highlights include spectacular numbers on a frozen lake and on a huge pink wedding cake. Although Clara loses her love in the fantasy world, he does exist as her savior in the real one. Too numerous to list, Scott Ambler, Etta Murfitt, Shelby Williams, Anabelle Dalling, Rachel Lancaster, Vicky Evans, Alan Vincent and Adam Galbraith are among just a few of the incredibly talented dancers.

“Nutcracker!” is such a simple story it does not need much explanation, merely a recommendation to see it as soon as possible. This production is absolutely a refreshing twist on a timeless Christmas tradition. Rest assured that if Matthew Bourne is involved, you are in for a rare treat and will see something you will remember forever. An absolute must for all family members, please try to fit it into your busy holiday season. You can then tell your grandchildren you saw an early Matthew Bourne. It will not disappoint you.

Pytor Illych Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker - Complete Ballet

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