B+

 

I’ve never actually seen the proper dance  version of The Nutcracker before, though several TV versions growing up. Interestingly, it set up certain expectations…

 

Hoo-rah!

  • I was vicariously super happy for the kids performing on stage. What a cool opportunity at that age to be in front of such a huge audience! Their dancing and acting was enthusiastic and a joy.
  • Loved the set for the house and the visual way the kids spying on the living room was done with a skrim.
  • The tree is a wonderful way of transitioning into a dream, and it felt surreal even in the audience to watch an already-large tree ‘grow’ to 10x its size. I was grinning like a schoolboy through the whole sequence.
  • Some really lovely dancing. My wife, as a dancer, enjoyed it like a fine wine. I enjoyed it like a juice box.
  • The snowflake forest set was gorgeous and cold and magical.
  • The Land of Sugar had a lovely dream-like quality to it.
  • The rat costumes, particularly for the rat king, was disturbing as all heck and worked like gangbusters.
  • Also really liked the sugar land ballerina costumes with stiff tutus. I gave a different quality to their dancing.
  • The music! I love the music in the Nutcracker, though was surprised to note that I recognized very few pieces in the first act but nearly all from the second.

 

Blech…

  • Beyond not recognizing the music in the first act, I also just found it surprisingly bland and unmemorable.
  • The outfits for the Mirliton dancers, who were clearly the leads of the second act, made them look as bland as could be. Mint green? Really?
  • Narratively, there’s no conflict after the death of the Rat King, so there aren’t any stakes through the entire second act. Everything is happy! It’s meant for kids, so fine, but I guess I was spoiled growing up watching Mickey’s Nutcracker, in which the Rat King follows them to the Land of Sugar and momentarily wreaks some havoc there before being transformed into a character from the original party.
  • This is really nitpicking, but it struck me as odd that the show ended with the kids flying in a sleigh off stage. Yes, it was beautiful, but don’t we need to see the girl waking up? Don’t we need subtle confirmation that this was indeed all a dream? Can’t we have a moment of melancholy where, just for a moment, she’s sad the whole thing wasn’t real?
  • Since we never get that confirmation, I’m just going to assume that her godfather put her in cryosleep, and 5000 years later she awoke to a dystopian world full of human-size rats, cities made of candy, and anthropomorphic nutcracker dolls.

 

Tales from intermission:

  • Very unclassy, but I had dollar pizza in my bag that I hadn’t gotten a chance to eat before the show since my wife’s train was delayed. I struggled to find subtle ways of ripping off chunks of it, but managed.
  • My wife pre-ordered me a whisky, though it was so smoky it reminded me more of the scotches I’m familiar with. I’ve decided that scotch is a gateway scotch for me; when I drink scotch, it makes me want more scotch.
  • I was sad to find no drinks were allowed in the theater. The amount of scotch/whiskey I had would usually last me over an hour, but I had to drain most if it in about a second. Sad sad.