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The Nutcracker, Moscow City Ballet – Richmond Theatre, London

Nutcracker, Richmond Theatre

Composer: Pyotr Tchaikovsky Director:  Victor Smirnov­-Golanov Reviewer: Cavelle Leigh Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, is unfailingly linked to the gaiety of Christmas (and for the eighty's child amongst us Home Alone). Never mind then that this one is performed in February at the Richmond Theatre, though quite aptly, for a work by the famous composer, by the Moscow City Ballet. It tells the story of young Clara, who has the ultimate Godfather in Drosselmeyer. Not only does he dress up as Santa and spoil her with toys at Christmas, he makes them come alive. Cue a magical ballet that has enchanted adults and children alike for over a century. In a colourful first scene, one sees Clara (Yulia Zhuravleva) and her brother Fritz (Nino Uchava) eagerly anticipating Christmas day, during a Christmas Eve party held by their father. Enter 'life and soul' Drosselmeyer (Sergei Saliev) who might be described as THE godfather. First dressed as Father Chistmas, then as a magician he treats Clara to the Nutcracker Doll (the charming Valeriy Kravtsov), Mouse King Doll (the menacing Yaroslav Alekhnovich) and Doll (the playful Marina Larina) who miraculously awaken close to midnight. What should unfold is a bewitching fairytale, yet whilst it isn't wholly disappointing, this rather formatted production offers nothing by way of originality. It retains a traditional style throughout, which in itself no bad thing. However it appears to be somewhat repetitive, with each scene notably similar to the last. The first act is rather chaotic, with perhaps too many of the corps de ballet present for a stage restricted in size. Unfortunately they lacked the precision and synchronisation one might expect of such this highly regarded company, and donned seemingly cheap costumes that on occasion would be better placed in a Christmas panto. More promise was shown in the second act with iconic scenes like the Land of the Snowflakes and the  Waltz of the Flowers. Most enjoyably is the Land of the Sweets where the audience is transported to Arabia, Spain and China in a medley of exotic dance performed by Ekaterina Tokareva, Ekaterina Odarenko, Elena Kotelkina and Mikharu Nishi.  As solo, pas de deux or pas de trois, ballerinas of the Moscow City Ballet truly show their strength. The Nutcracker Prince (Kanat Nadyrbek), the Mouse King (Talgat  Kozhabaev), the Flower Fairy (Liliya Orekhova) and again Clara (Zhuravleva) all displayed controlled and gifted technique, leaving the impression once more that the corps de ballet, often static, were surplus to requirements. Overall this adaptation leaves one unaffected either way. One feels that the Moscow City Ballet has much potential but a little more creativity and perfectionism would not go unrewarded. Runs until 2nd March  (then touring)

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The Moscow City Ballet, Swan Lake – Royal & Derngate, Northampton

The Moscow City Ballet, Swan Lake – Royal & Derngate, Northampton

Music: Tchaikovsky Artistic Director: Ludmila Nerubashenko Reviewer: Rosella Barnes The Moscow City Ballet truly excel themselves with this stunning performance of Swan Lake. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, now under the dedicated eye of Ludmila Nerubashenko, Moscow City Ballet’s distinctive style of Russian classical ballet can’t help but please everyone in the audience. With the unmistakable score by Tchaikovsky, Swan Lake ...

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Moscow City Ballet: The Nutcracker – Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield

Moscow City Ballet

Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Director & Choreographer: Victor Smirnov-Golovanov (after Marius Petipa) Reviewer: Fiona Hannon What better way to clear away the post-Christmas blues than with a warm and sparkling production of The Nutcracker? This perennial Christmas favourite enthralled an audience at Sheffield's Lyceum Theatre on a chilly January evening. This production is part of Moscow City Ballet's 25th anniversary ...

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Moscow City Ballet: Swan Lake – The Hawth, Crawley

Swan Lake

Composer: Pyotr Tchaikovsky Producer: Victor Smirnov-Golovanov Ballet Mistress: Lyudmila Nerubashchenko Reviewer: Bill Avenell [rating:3.5]   The phrase ‘curates egg’ springs to mind. Having enjoyed a number of Moscow City Ballet productions over the year, Swan Lake certainly was enjoyable but perhaps not quite as pleasing as productions in previous seasons. As my young companion suggested, it did not have quite ...

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Moscow City Ballet: The Nutcracker – Royal and Derngate Theatre, Northampton.

The Nutcracker Royal & Derngate

Music: Pyotr Tchaikovsky Choreographer: Victor Smirnov-Golovanov after Marius Petipa Conductor: Igor Shavruk Reviewer: Nicole Evans [rating:4.5] The first thing you notice when entering the Derngate auditorium is the stage. Even with the curtain down its size alone leaves an instant impression and before you have even found your seat the excitement of what awaits behind it creeps in. It is ...

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Swan Lake – Theatre Royal, Brighton

Composer: Pyotr Tchaikovsky Producer: Victor Smirnov-Golovanov Ballet Mistress: Lyudmila Nerubashenko Reviewer: Bill Avenell [rating:3.5] There is always a slight frisson of excitement when the phrases, Tchaikovsky, Swan Lake, a Moscow Ballet Company, are put together and there was certainly a frisson last night as a packed house at Brighton waited to be entranced. Well, I wasn’t entranced but I did ...

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Romeo And Juliet – Theatre Royal, Norwich

Music: Sergei Prokoviev Choreographer: Victor Smirnov Golovanog Reviewer: Lu Greer [Rating:4.5] To say that the Moscow City Ballet’s version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is good is probably very obvious, as the Ballet company is of course one of Russia’s most successful touring companies, and it is almost impossible to criticise any of Shakespeare’s work. This piece, however, goes far ...

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Moscow City Ballet : Romeo & Juliet – Churchill Theatre, Bromley

Music: Sergei Prokofiev Choreography: Natalia Ryshenko & Viktor Smirnov-Golovanov [rating:3] Moscow City Ballet (MCB) must be one of the hardest working ballet troupes in the world. From January 3rd to end of March they will have done nearly 70 shows throughout the UK; varying performances between The Nutcracker, Giselle, Swan Lake and, tonight’s show, Romeo & Juliet. I’ve often thought ...

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