Review-Nutcracker-Hong Kong Ballet


By: Meaghan McGurgan


Tonight I was invited to the opening of Hong Kong Ballet's The Nutcracker. It's been quite the buzz around town due to the publicity brought about on the "reinvention" they're doing to the piece. Hong Kong Ballet chose to do away with some of the traditional choreography in Nutcracker and update the classic. They also brought in a brand new set and costumes. I had the pleasure of sitting between two Nutcracker virgins tonight. I consider myself quite the expert having seen it over a dozen times. However, I do realize that it could make me rather cynical and picky as a reviewer. The little girl sitting to my left was six years old. She was enthralled with their version of the ballet. She yelled and shouted during the battles with the Rat King. She gasped at how beautiful the ballerina was. She clapped for joy at the end of each solo. My friend Kenny is 25 and had never seen The Nutcracker until tonight. He liked it. "I'm going to go to the pub and tell all my mates that I went to the ballet and actually enjoyed it!"


Hong Kong Ballet's 2012 version of The Nutcracker has a little something for everyone. If a 6 year old, a 25 year old straight guy, and a cynical critic can enjoy it then I think anyone can find enjoyment in this show. It has beautiful production values. The new and improved Rat King costume is AWESOME. Especially the helmet. This is the first Rat King costume that I haven't laughed at while the dancer leapt around in it. It helped solidify the character as the villain. The ticket price is worth every penny for the value of sets, costumes, props and live orchestrations. Hong Kong Ballet also has a cheap tickets available for 120HKD and student tickets so people of all financial backgrounds should be able to afford a ticket to see it. I like that it's an accessible and good quality production.


Now for the new and improved choreography. I liked Act 1 a whole lot better in this new version than the traditional Nutcracker. It was a bit more exciting and contained less staged presentation that typically comes with classical ballet. I thought the Rat and Soldier Battle in Act 1 was well choreographed and particularly enjoyed how they got rid of the bodies at the end. The mini rats played by ballerinas in training were also adorable!!! *squee* Everyone loves cute kids.


Act 2 contains the more well known dances in the piece. I liked what they did with the Dance of the Clowns. The boy who played the Pantalone character is a brilliant actor with incredible expression. He sold the classical Italian clown with his performance. I also enjoyed the Arabian Cafe. I did not enjoy the new Chinese Dance. I found myself missing the Chinese fan dances I had become used to seeing over the years. They went with a comedic take on it that just wasn't up my alley.


Congrats to everyone on the Hong Kong Ballet for putting together a spectacular production of The Nutcracker. It truly doesn't feel like Christmas for me until I've stepped into Clara's magical world. I would recommend this show to people looking for a fun holiday family event. It's fun, it's colorful, and this production is very child friendly.


The Nutcracker is playing at the TST Cultural Center through December 27th at various show times. For more information click here.


Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 3.0


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