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Review: The Nutcracker @ Birmingham Hippodrome

I know I’ve said it before but in our house Christmas just isn’t Christmas without the BRB Nutcracker. Most critics rate this as the best in the business and it’s not hard to see why.

First there’s the delightful story of Clara, a young girl on the brink of adulthood whose miraculous Christmas dream is set to Tchaikovsky’s justly famous score. Together these allow the company endless opportunities for ravishing set piece ballets plus a series of stunning theatrical effects to produce what is quite simply the greatest seasonal spectacle of our day, a work of theatrical genius.

Right from the opening with its opulent pre-revolution Russian family Christmas this show is pure visual pleasure as everyone from the youngest child to the oldest grandparent gathers to celebrate the season. The conjurer’s magic tricks give way to spectacular transformations as toy soldiers battle warrior mice and Clara journeys to the Kingdom of Sweeties via the Land of Ice and Snow. I won’t give away any more of the surprises but just say there are spectacular treats in store which never cease to astonish.

The evening I saw it Karla Doorbar was lovely as Clara whose magical dream we share while long-time company favourite Iain Mackay was impressive as Drosselmeyer the magician who brings everything to life.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen the second act with its series of set-piece ballets done better, the Spanish Dance, the Chinese acrobats, the sinuous Arabian dancers, the feisty Cossack boys all lively and energetic right up to the final pas de deux. In an outstanding cast I must mention Kit Holder’s performance as the second act Nutcracker Doll come to thrilling life, and new to me as the Rose Fairy Angela Paul, a marvellous performer, definitely one to watch out for in the future.

In the interval I asked fellow audience member and first-timer Olivia (6) which bit she liked best. She said: “All of it.”

The Nutcracker runs until December 12. For tickets phone 0844 338 5000 or book online at

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.