Set in 1915 in San Francisco, Helgi Tomasson’s 2004 version of “The Nutcracker” features glamorous costuming and decorative nuances of that era.
The story is well-woven with details that make you think, “Oh yes! That totally makes sense!” For example, in the first act all of the mechanical dolls (the Nutcracker being one of them) appear in the beginning of Clara’s dream, giving weight to the theory that what we experience in real life enters our subconscious mind. Also, the King of the Mice’s death is not precipitated by a ballet slipper but rather… well, best to leave that surprise for your viewing! As Clara and her Nutcracker-turned-Prince journey through the Land of Snow, the Queen, King, and snowflakes they encounter are absolutely beautiful.
In the second act, the Sugar Plum Fairy reigns the Crystal Palace which is filled with dragonflies, butterflies, and ladybugs. The divertissements perform for Clara and Drosselmeyer who sit upon a dais that changes location in order to adapt to the dances. The Sugar Plum Fairy leads the flowers (so no Dewdrop Fairy) and when Clara’s dream to become a ballerina comes true, it is a more adult version of herself that dances the Grand Pas de Deux with the Prince.
Tomasson’s unique vision and choreography are what make this version of “The Nutcracker” worth seeing.