Clara's fantasies have therefore much more emotional punch, though when
she imagines a nutcracker doll transformed into a flailing toy soldier
all the children cower in fear. When this dybbuk-like creature does show
them the way to escape the orphanage, he changes again, this time into
the handsome hero. A particularly beautiful scene ends the first act when
the boys and girls gleefully skate on a frozen pond, celebrating their
The second act visits Sweetieland where Bourne presents various dances
with his usual wit and elegance by Marshmallows, Liquorice Allsorts and
an especially sinuous Ice-Cream Cone. The dancing is lively and the choreography
original, except perhaps by the lovers' pas de deux which is rather pedestrian.
All ends well when Clara, back to reality in the orphanage, discovers
her toy soldier is really a fellow orphan and the ballet ends with them
fleeing together to their life.
Bourne first choreographed this work in 1992 and revised it a decade later.
The dancing and music are wedded so closely one would think Tchaikovsky
composed his music for Bourne rather than 110 years ago.
The excellent work by Etta Murfitt as Clara, Scott Ambler as the Nutcracker,
Michela Meazza as Sugar, Neil Penlington as Fritz and all the orphans
made Bourne's Nutcracker an important addition to the repertoire of the
Bourne's latest work, Play Without Words" will play at the Ahmanson
Theatre in Los Angeles in April and May 2005.