Review: Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker - King's Theatre, Glasgow


Currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker! is a visual feast. Featuring a stunning set, eye-popping colour, wonderful costumes and laugh out loud humour, it’s almost impossible to believe that the production is 20 this year. It feels fresh, joyous and bursting with sugar.
In a contrast to more traditional Nutcrackers, the performance begins in the bleak Dickensian setting of an orphanage before travelling through a frozen wonderland to the sumptuous, sugar-coated Sweetieland. Dr Dross’s orphanage and the orphans’ clothing are grey, dull and decorated in limp balloons and paper chains, a far cry from the Christmas extravaganza usually associated with the Nutcracker.
The Orphans embody their childish roles beautifully, filling the stage with subtle moments and blink and you would miss it adolescent stereotypes. From the teenager hanging out the window smoking to the girls chattering excitedly and the boy looking longingly at the girl he can’t have, there’s an abundance of moments to see. I’m sure you could watch this production several times and still find something new with each viewing.
If the orphanage is monochrome hell, Sweetieland is hedonistic heaven. Crammed full of lurid colour, raunchy choreography and an oversized sparkling mouth guarded by a humbug (who else could be the bouncer?) Sweetieland is the perfect antidote to the grim orphanage. The Liquorice Allsorts, Gobstoppers, Marshmallow Girls and Knickerbocker Glory burst onto the stage bringing unexpected personality to usually inanimate sweets. Prince Bon-Bon, played at this performance by Dominic North, steals the stage with his expressions and deft embodiment of the choreography.
Nutcracker! is the perfect production for anyone who believes that ballet is not for them. By taking a classic ballet and injecting it with modern choreography, loud colours and Anthony Ward’s exquisite costumes, Matthew Bourne has created a production that is ideal to introduce ballet to a new audience and generation for years to come. This is just the first 20 years in the chapter of Nutcracker! and I can’t wait to see what’s next from Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures company.
Thurs 22 – Sat 25 Feb
Tue – Sat eves 7.30pm
Wed & Sat mats 2.30pm
Tickets: £16 – £36
Box Office 0844 871 7648 (Bkg fee) (bkg fee)