YOU know Christmas is on its way when the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s stunning production of The Nutcracker takes to the stage.
It never fails to thrill and this year there’s an added bonus - real star quality in the shape of Carol-Anne Millar’s Clara.
She not only danced superbly but completely absorbed herself in the role - brilliantly conveying her emotion to the audience.
It meant that her terror was our terror, and her joy and wonderment ours too.
The result was a sumptuous feast, a celebration, all underscored by Tchaikovsky’s brilliant score.
James Grundy’s magician Drosselmeyer cast a suitable spell over the audience, children giggling right on cue as Kosuke Yamamoto’s Jack in the Box leapt onto the stage, and gasps and applause at the stupendous scene changes.
Of course like all good Christmas tales there’s a dark side to Nutcracker, and here the BRB excelled too, sending shivers down the spine at all the appropriate moments.
Amidst all the excellence there were a few slip ups, but nothing to detract to a glorious evening - Natasha Oughted’s Sugar Plum Fairy, Alexander Campbell’s Prince, and Lei Zhao’s Snow Fairy particularly caught the eye, but it was Carol-Anne Millar who stole the show.