USUALLY at this time of the year, that old festive the Nutcracker ballet arrives to start the Christmas joy.
It’s different this year and fans surely think a change is as good as a rest. The change is that the much-praised Northern Ballet has arrived and unveiled its refreshing production of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.
Audiences are delighted and the kiddies a little bit scared as the ghosts come to shiver-down-the spine life. When one little girl saw Scrooge, she screamed.
This show first graced the stage 21 years ago – and it has retained its mesmerising popularity. It’s great, too, that Christopher Gabel’s version sticks closely to the original story. Except that he throws in an extra ghost just for good measure.
No tights or tutus in sight, as the show is performed in classy Victorian costumes; except for the ghosts, of course. They are more than a little spooky as they enter and exit through an enormous sash window.
The multi-level set accommodates the Cratchet’s hovel of a home and Scrooges mean cold counting house.
There are dozens of magical moments – all beautifully choreographed. The lighting added superb atmosphere and I can’t praise Carl Davis’ gloriously festive score too highly.
An array of superb dancers are a delight to the eye. Top honours to Scrooge in the shape of Glullano Contadini who danced and acted with a myriad of emotions with ease. All the principals were vital to this story turned ballet, and it was satisfying that festive vocal work was included.
Little limping Tony Tim (Lenny Kiss) stole audiences hearts and the lolloping about Mr and Mrs Cratchet (Javier Torres and Victoria Sibson), added much fun.
This ballet did much to kick off Christmas 2013 with style and energy.
The show runs until Saturday, Novemeber 23, at the Palace Theatre, Manchester.