It's really NOT the Nutcracker...and it's bereft of fun.
I am not the sort of person to normally watch "The Nutcracker", as I am not exactly a fan of ballet. While I have actually seen the ballet on film before, I had my ballet-loving daughter on hand to help me make heads or tails of this one--and I REALLY needed it. However, she also was very confused--even though she'd gone to see the ballet six or seven times. This confusion is because it looks almost nothing like the classic ballet. Instead, it's Maurice Bejart's recollections and vision with SOME of the old ballet. You get the original score but everything else is discombobulated--with a few similar characters and lots of stuff right from Freud---with LOTS of imagery about a boy's Oedipal fixations towards his mother. And, sadly, much of the artistry and difficulty of the original ballet is gone--as are the lovely sets. It's all minimalistic and stark. You also get some really odd stuff--where Bejart APPEARS to be doing sign language on a giant screen above the dancers. However, I know sign language (and American and French are very similar) and it was all nonsense--making me feel it was just a case of self-indulgence--as was everything about this production. In other words, the ballet was all about him. As for me, I wanted to see the Mouse and all the cute characters--not Freudian symbolism and a character that looks like the guy from the "Thundercats" cartoon (Felix). What you have left might have some nice dancing but it is also anything but fun or festive. And isn't "The Nutcracker" supposed to be fun and about Christmas?!
Before retiring, I used to work as a psychology teacher at an arts school. Perhaps this version of "The Nutcracker" would have been interesting to show the kids (particularly the dancers in my class), but I really doubt if they would have enjoyed this either. My advice--watch at your own risk. If you REALLY love Bejart and Freud, you may love this production. Otherwise....there are lots of nicer and less confusing versions out there.
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