Full A-Team Review: The Nutcracker

by A- Team Reviewer Ross Scarano

Austin, you have disappointed me.

On the calm, chilled evening of December 5, the 47th annual production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker opened to a not sold-out crowd. I won’t name names – I’m no rat – but more of you, Austin, should have been there. They tell me there was a football game of some importance that evening – well, to that I say, Bah! Humbug!

Jesting aside, everyone should make time for a performance of The Nutcracker this month. While I readily acknowledge that much of what constitutes current Christmas-y activities seem crassly commercial, Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet, featuring wonderful choreography courtesy of Stephen Mills, will turn even the most bitter Scrooge into a bubbling puddle of holiday glee (of course, that promise can only be made for the two acts of the ballet – once back in the world, all bets are off).

Not being an expert on ballet, I can offer only rudimentary accolades to the performers. Each leap impressed, the footwork struck me as clean and largely noiseless, and every movement seemed effortless. Watching ballet, for me, is best when it most closely resembles a silent film. The music swells, but the noise of feet is completely, utterly absent. For the most part, this performance succeeded in that end (although, I thought the orchestra could have been a bit louder).

As far as costuming and set design are concerned, nothing strayed from tradition. I was especially pleased that the Rat King was actually a rat king. Mother Ginger was also a standout, what with the drag queen element and all.

A show this excellent and appropriate for the season deserves to sell-out. Austin, make it happen.

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About nowplayingaustin

The Austin Creative Alliance is a nonprofit performing arts service organization working to cultivate an environment where the performing arts can grow and flourish. We serve over 130 arts organizations with marketing, ticketing, audience development services; AEA paymaster, information & referral services — plus access to affordable health, liability, and event insurance. We also provide online professional development seminars, fiscal sponsorship services for emerging arts groups, host annual unified general auditions, annual theatre industry awards, and consistently advocate for the many benefits the arts bring to our quality of life.

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