Dreamy Nutcracker the ultimate Chrismas treat


But unlike everything else, this production is an astonishingly beautiful escape into another world, enormous fun and without any morning-after regrets.

From the instant the lights are lit on the massive tree to the moment our central character Clara wakes up, wondering if it were all a gorgeous dream, the magical story of Christmas enchantment is a delight.

As perhaps the best-known, most regularly performed ballet in the world, with its wonderfully familiar Tchaikovsky score too, it makes the perfect Christmas stocking filler.

Benedicte Bemet dazzles as Clara. Picture: Dan BoudSource:Supplied

This is English choreographer Sir Peter Wright’s 1990 production of the classic, first performed in Australia in 2007, last seen in 2014, and a stand-out in so many ways.

The first scene sets the stage – a Victorian family Christmas with children receiving presents and Clara, danced with such a joyous lightness by Benedicte Bemet, being given a Nutcracker doll by the charismatic magician, performed with admirable elan by Andrew Killan.

One of his best tricks is mending the doll when it gets broken, but another is producing a Jack-in-the-box – Royal Danish Ballet soloist Liam Redhead who jumps and dances with an eye-watering springiness.

Jarryd Madden and Amber Scott. Picture: Dan Boud

Jarryd Madden and Amber Scott. Picture: Dan BoudSource:Supplied

Clara later steals out of bed and back into the room at midnight, when a strange new world unfolds. We have the battles between the toy soldiers and rats, with Clara joining in to hit the king rat with her shoe, and the sparkly Land of the Snow, with the Snow Fairy danced by Sharni Spencer.

The series of dances from all over the world are stunning, with my favourite the Chinese dance, performed with heaps of personality by Lucien Xu and Yichuan Wang.

The Dance of the Mirlitons in the Kingdom of Sweets is a delicious confection, The Rose Fairy and her flowers are unbearably pretty in pink and Amber Scott as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Jarryd Madden as the Nutcracker Prince command the stage with a crisp authority.

Imogen Chapman, Brodie James, Nathan Brook and Callum Linnane. Picture: Dan Boud

Imogen Chapman, Brodie James, Nathan Brook and Callum Linnane. Picture: Dan BoudSource:Supplied

But it’s to Bemet’s Clara that the night belongs and every moment the newly-promoted principal artist is on stage, you can’t take your eyes off her as she dazzles at each step of her journey through this brilliant Christmas wonderland.

When she first danced that role in 2014, we all felt that a star had perhaps been born. Now we’re absolutely certain.

The Australian Ballet’s The Nutcracker plays at the Sydney Opera House until December 18



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