Back in spirit of season

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The Nutcracker Blackpool Grand Theatre

CHRISTMAS may seem like a distant memory now, but The Russian State Ballet of Siberia soon eases you back into the festive spirit with its magical portrayal of The Nutcracker.

When Herr Drosselmeyer and Marie voyage into their enchanted fairytale world, the exquisitely detailed costumes and backdrops are simply dazzling. And clever stage techniques from snow-effect lighting to Drosselmeyer's cape trick with the Nutcracker doll add to the deep sense of magic.

The lead Arabic dancer mesmerised the audience with her snaky moves and jaw-dropping agility and you were careful not to blink as Russian dancer Elena Tcherkashina performed her amazingly fast pirouettes.

The frightening mice brought a menacing twist to the tale, despite artistic director Sergei Bobrov choosing to keep the story more family-friendly by omitting some of the darker scenes such as Mouse King's death.

With delicate lines, the very elegant Natalia Goroshko – who played Marie – outshone her Nutcracker Prince in the pas de deux but Vyacheslav Kapustin came into his own on his solo performance with controlled high leaps.

Tchaikovsky's music was beautifully performed by Alexander Kosinsky's orchestra and the ballet corps was on sparkling form.