Chelmsford Ballet Company at the Civic Theatre
May 30 1986
An impressively lavish production of The Nutcracker at the Civic last week. The enterprising Chelmsford Ballet Company – unique of its kind – has built an enviable reputation for full-scale shows, and this was a worthy successor to Tales of Beatrix Potter and last year’s Coppelia.
I saw the matinée, at which Clara was danced by Rosina Baker [Gemma Beesley danced at other performances]. Rosina cleverly caught the innocent delight of the child whose party ends in a colourful dream. Caroline Clark made an impact, too, in the smaller role of Franz, her brother.
The Nutcracker soldier himself was Jason Wild, who also danced the Grandfather and the Arabian. John Richardson, sporting a raffish eye-patch, was excellent as the ever-present Drosselmeyer, and David Slade made an imposing King Rat.
Stephen Ayres danced the Prince, and guest artiste Amanda Graham gave a delightful Sugar Plum Fairy.
The ensemble work was imaginative and polished, especially the Snowflakes [led by Rachel Ashcroft as the Snow Queen] and the national dances. This ballet makes good use of the talented Junior Company, particularly good in the Battle and in the sequence with Mere Gigogne [Kathleen Mardell].
The scenery was mostly rented cloths, but the furniture was splendid, and costumes – even the removal men’s – exquisite.
The Nutcracker was choreographed by Rose Kinsey and the Company’s director, Elisabeth Swan.