Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker Review – Empire Theatre, Liverpool

Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker
Image Source: British Theatre Guide

This is our review of Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker at Liverpool‘s Empire Theatre. So, let’s take a look at Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker!

Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker

Synopsis Of Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker

This show applies the typical story of Nutcracker and expands upon it to deliver a memorable theatre experience. So, it’s Christmas Eve and we come to Dr. Dross’ Orphanage. There, we’re privy to the celebration of Christmas in the form of a tree decoration. From there, a party gets under way which includes the exchange of presents. However, at 8pm precisely, an unusual figure arrives to deliver numerous realistic dolls. But he puts the dolls away in a cupboard at the back of the room.

Though the dolls disappear, one toy remains. This is a wooden nutcracker designed to resemble a man, though few take notice of it. All except Clara, though a dispute leads to the doll breaking. Later that night, with all of the children asleep, Clara wanders to find the doll. However, with the clock hitting midnight, something truly wondrous happens. The previously-discarded Christmas tree grows into a huge plant. Better still, the nutcracker doll comes to life and leads a battle between the mice and the soldiers. From there, we see the evolution of the relationship between Clara and the Nutcracker as he becomes a Prince. And this leads to a visit to the exquisite Sweetieland, which leads to all sorts of fabulous scenes and visuals.

Analysis Of Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker

So, Nutcracker is a classic ballet that tells an intriguing story with twists and turns. The ballet dance routines are immaculate and highly professional. Not to mention that the recognisable music is very familiar; the soundtrack includes some of the most famous ballet scores ever. Furthermore, the tale itself involves comedy, drama, laughs and tears. All within a tightly-packed show that delivers upon all expectations that attendees may have when entering the theatre.

However, it’s the set designs that turn this into a spectacular production. Indeed, Matthew Bourne creates a thing of beauty with his incarnation of the show. I loved the clock in the first half, which initially lines up with the actual time in a nice touch. The resemblance of the orphanage is eye-catching, as is the depiction of the pine forest. But it’s the backdrops for Sweetieland that takes your breath away. I won’t spoil the best bits here, but the settings are glorious and they will wow audience members young and old. I should mention too that the costumes are exquisite. It’s clear that a huge amount of time goes into design on this show. And it pays off, as it transforms this from a familiar ballet to an unforgettable production.

Summary Of Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker

My guest was attending ballet for the first time. And the whole show impressed them while encouraging them to attend further ballets in the future. Meanwhile, those who have attended many ballets in the past were also delighted and awarded the cast a standing ovation. And to top things off, a post-show Q&A educated attendees. This included school trips of classes for the ballet stars of the future. All in all, then, Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker was a phenomenal evening of ballet, and I give my highest recommendation to this extravaganza.


Target Audience: Ages 10+
Content: Contains Mild Scary Scenes
Recommendation?: Yes

Overall Rating: 10/10 – Perfect

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