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Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker DVD

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One of his earliest pieces of choreography, Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker is also one of his most charming and imaginative. Moving the Christmas party from a comfortable middle-class home to a Dickensian orphanage whose proprietors starve their wards to spoil their own children, it then shifts to a wonderland where sweets and sugar are a none-too-subtle metaphor for sexual awakening. In both worlds, Clara (Etta Murfitt) has to struggle to be heroine, or even a participant, in her own story and her struggle for the muscular, sexy Alan Vincent with her bitchy rival Sugar (Soranne Curtin) is not resolved until the last moments of the ballet. Along the way, Bourne finds charming and sexy ways to make all of the well-known genre moments of the score fresh and new--the Chinese dancers are a bunch of daffy marshmallow girls in pink, for example, whose dance is all strutting cuteness. There is a truly stunning transformation scene at the beginning of the waltz, which like much else in the score becomes a complex ensemble in which all the character dancers have their own things to do. Bourne's Nutcracker has become a popular favourite, and deservedly so. On the DVD: Matthew Bourne's Nutcrackercomes to DVD with no additional features. It is presented in a 16:9 anamorphic ratio and has sumptuous sound in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and L-PCM Stereo that does full justice to the Royal Philharmonic's eloquent performance of the score. --Roz Kaveney

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Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 or region free DVD player in order to play  Nutcracker! is Matthew Bourne’s deliciously witty and colourful version of the most traditional of Christmas ballets with Tchaikovsky’s magical score at its heart This box of treats is crammed full of his trademark saucy humour inventiveness and a childlike sense of fun Bourne’s Nutcracker-with-a-twist still follows the theme of growing up and first love – a coming of age story told through the dreams and nightmares of a young girl   Matthew Bourne is one of the UK’s most innovative and popular choreographers He has achieved world-wide success with his new versions of the classics such as the ground-breaking Swan Lake with its all-male swans Cinderella and The Car Man Last year his Play Without Words for the Royal National Theatre received two Olivier Awards He is the only British director to have won the Tony Award for Best Director and Best Choreographer of a Musical in the same year

Tchaikovsky's ballet, choreographed on ice by the acclaimed Matthew Bourne, follows Clara's journey from a bleak Christmas Eve at Dr. Dross' Orphanage, through a shimmering ice-skating wonderland to the spectacular candy folk of Sweetieland.

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