Amilo Reviews The Nutcracker at Chopin Theatre

By Amilo Rajandram, age 11/10 (I wrote this on my birthday), Alcott Elementary

I recently went to watch a play called The Nutcracker. It is currently being performed at The Chopin Theatre. I went to watch it on 16 November, the opening night, with a friend. The play runs through to 29 December, so very appropriate during the festive period.

This is a ballet-free production about a young girl called Clara, whose brother dies whilst serving in the military. Consumed by her grief, her aunt, Drosselmeyer forges a toy Nutcracker for Clara, which looks just like her brother. Miraculously, the Nutcracker comes to life one night, followed by her three other favourite toys. Then the five companions plan to save Christmas because Clara’s parents are distraught by the loss of their son, and decide they no longer need to celebrate it. However, there are British speaking rats who try their best to stop them from reaching their goal. 

The story is humorous, but frightening with the use of lighting and dramatic effect. There is also a modern feel to the story which makes it easier to relate to in comparison to the traditional story. 

During the intermission, fake snow drops from the ceiling, so you can also have a snowball fight. They even had cookies that they let the nearby audience eat while the actors continue performing. But you have to be quick, before they take them away!    

The stage is set in a different way, as it is in the middle of the audience and the actors come on stage from the sides or by walking in between the audience. 

Towards the end of the play, there is a huge rat-puppet that tries to disrupt Clara and her toys’ plans. This is very creative, as are the walls in the theatre which crack so the characters can go “inside the walls” to find the rats. 

The cast was just made up of eight actors playing multiple roles and they were very friendly with the audience. The live music was flawless being both exciting and dramatic.

Overall I felt the performance was captivating and it kept me hooked throughout the play. I would highly recommend this version of the Nutcracker to anyone of school age and above, including adults. What makes this show different to any other version is that there is no ballet at all.