THE NUTCRACKER | Hong Kong, Cultural Centre

Hong Kong Ballet, one of Asia’s premier ballet companies, present their ever-popular Nutcracker for the seventh year running. As well as world-class dance (choreographed by Terence Kohler), audiences can expect an unabashed sense of fun, and some quite deranged updates (Clair Sauran) to the classic Christmas story.

In terms of dance, the crowd-pleasing highlights are to be found in the second act. Rather than a journey to the Land Of Sweets to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara (Peggy Lai) and Fritz (Chunlong Leung) journey to the top of a Christmas tree, in order to reunite a frozen Nutcracker (Xia Jun) with a frozen Ballerina (Venus Villa), who then deliver a lengthy series of breathtaking celebratory duets.

In the first act, Clara ventures into a dolls house, to find all her dolls have come to life, including her favourite, baby Clärchen (absolute star-in-the-making Sophie Le Couedic). The other dolls are first played by adults, and later by children; the sight of little children dancing around with bald patches and frock coats is wonderfully bizarre.

It’s a shame that a synthesiser has to do the job of the heavenly choir in the finale to the first act, but otherwise the Hong Kong Sinfonietta (conducted by Paolo Bortolameolli) play Tchaikovsky’s iconic score live, with great expression. Although aimed at audiences aged 3 and over, this is a Nutcracker with plenty of Christmas madness to be enjoyed by the whole family.

The Nutcracker will play for sixteen performances only until 26 December 2018.

Read The Prickle’s review of The Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House here.

Read The Prickle’s review of English National Ballet’s Nutcracker at the London Coliseum here.

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