The Nutcracker returns to CivicKen Longworth

By , 25/04/2020 19:36

ORIENTAL DANCE: Vadim Pakhomov and Rina Taiblikobva in a dream sequence in The Nutcracker. THE ballet The Nutcracker is widely seen as the most popular dance story ever staged, with people of all ages enjoying its story about a young girl’s adventures when the toy that is the title character comes alive and takes her on a magical journey.

Its popularity is shown by the fact that Newcastle’s Civic Theatre will host on April 13 the fourth production of the ballet since 2013.

Moscow Ballet La Classique, which brought The Nutcracker to in that year, is touring it internationally again.

The other two stagings also were by Russian dance troupes, the Imperial Russian Ballet Company in 2016, and the Russian National Ballet Theatre in 2017.

While The Nutcracker was put together in 1892 by a Russian team, it has a timeless story that appeals to people around the world.

The music by renowned composer Tchaikovsky includes two of classical music’s most-loved pieces, The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and The Waltz of the Flowers.

The first half shows people getting together for a lively Christmas party, with Clara, the daughter of the hosts, given a toy nutcracker by her godfather and crying when her brother breaks it.

Read more: The 2018 Newcastle theatre calendar

The second act has Clara woken from a sleep that night by the nutcracker, which has been transformed into a human by her godfather, who is a magician, and taken on a global journey by the nutcracker as they fight a tribe of mice whose leader plans to take over the world.

They encounter people of many nationalities, which gives rise to different forms of dance routines, among them Spanish and Arabian, and the nutcracker becomes a live prince.

Vadim Pakhomov, one of Moscow Ballet La Classique’s solo dancers, plays Clara’s father, Herr Stahlbaum, in the first act, brightly greeting the party guests and astutely managing their behaviour. And in the second half he is an Oriental figure, performing a Chinese style dance with a female soloist.

Pakhomov played the same roles in the 2013 production that came to Newcastle and he says that each staging gives him the chance to make changes to his movements.

The production has bright and colourful settings and clothing, with the sets designed and largely built by the company’s founder, Erik Melikov. He trained as a dancer from an early age, but physical problems forced him to give it up. He turned instead to set and costume designs and his skills led to him being engaged by international dance companies to work on their sets. He founded Moscow Ballet La Classique in 1990.

The Nutcracker can be seen at the Civic Theatre on Friday, April 13, at 7.30pm.

Ticket prices range from $55 to $90.

BOSOM BUDDIESTHE show titleBosom Buddiesis appropriate because its two performers, musical theatre stars Nancye Hayes and Todd McKenney, were friends long before they first worked together in the musical42nd Street30 years ago. And a moving comedy in which they were the sole actors,Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, was such a hit in 2006 that it was restaged in 2016, again with great success.

That production led to them deciding to put together a show mixing music and comedy which looked at their stage works and relationship. The show,Bosom Buddies, is now touring, with a performance at Cessnock Performing Arts Centre on Wednesday, April 11, at 7.30pm. Its songs come from many musicals, including those that helped make their careers – in Hayes’ case, the 1967 staging ofSweet Charity, in which she played the title role, and for McKenneyThe Boy from Oz, which had him as singer and songwriter Peter Allen in almost 1000 performances over two years.

The pair reveal backstage incidents and conversations and show video footage that has never gone public before. And at show’s end they have a question and answer session that gives audience members the chance to ask them about their careers and things that have happened in their lives. McKenney admitted smilingly in a television interview of the pair last week that he’d recently named a greyhound he’d adopted Nancye Hayes and this Hayes licked him while he was lying in bed.

The Cessnock show tickets cost $55 to $65. Bookings: 4993 4266.

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