This evening we went to see the NZ Ballet Company’s production of the Nutcracker. It was a ‘re-mastered’ version with a variation on the familiar story. In this case the girl gets knocked out while fighting with her brother over the nutcracker. She gets taken to the hospital where she starts hallucinating and the story unfolds with some interesting and very funny twists.
I was completely impressed with Sir John Trimmer who made a perfectly scary, busty, matron. Here’s a man who has spent a lifetime telling stories to music, for the most part without uttering a word. I’d never thought of dance – ballet specifically, as a form of mime before. Trimmer was an excellent story teller and there was such a warm feeling from the audience towards him. It felt like being with a favourite uncle or grandfather – someone who was a marvellous raconteur – and enjoying a new, but superbly executed story told by the old master.
The sets were simple – perhaps elegant is the better word, economical and yet very effective. The lighting was impressive, and did the ideal job for carrying themes and moods. The musicians were lively and engaged – this was a well polished performance, but still edgy enough to be interesting. I think I want a new career as the triangle player – about as complex as I can manage.
The best part was helping an elderly couple into the seats in front of us. As we helped them leave, up the steep stairs in the nosebleeds, the wife confided to me that they still go skiing. Their age, I’d guess, 75+. Good for them. We had a great night out – my wife, the kids and me – a culture fusion – watercolours in the St James, the ballet followed by food at the Genghis Khan. The ballet – it’s all good. Go see the Nutcracker if it shows near you.