By Erika Brown Thomas
The holiday season is here, and a trip to see The Nutcracker at The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences is a perfect kick-start for much needed merriness and cheer!
The classic tale is retold through contemporary music by Marc Robin but still uses many of the loved and familiar musical vignettes of the Tchaikovsky ballet. It hearkens back the same dream-framing device made famous by the beloved The Wizard of Oz as family, friends and toys come to life in The Land of Dreams. This refreshing take on an old classic is sweet, funny and incredibly entertaining, especially for children, but certainly won’t disappoint those who are only “young” at heart.
Matt Raftery (director and choreographer) and the Marriott creative staff have created a world that drips Christmas and Christmas joy. From Christmas trees and presents to digitally projected snow, the aesthetics of the show emanate the excitement of the approaching holidays. A unique and quirky take on the iconic “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” ballet performed by “Sugar Babies,” Amanda Tanguay and Nathaniel Braga in The Land of Sweets brings smiles to all.
Stealing the show is the antagonistic Fritz/Mouse King played by Alex Weisman. His energy and sass propel the scenes forward as no other character in this production does. Weisman’s villainous scheming is paired with laugh-out-loud hilarity and, at times, groan-inducing one-liners that showcase his abilities as an actor. He makes the script work for him and his character in a perfectly irascible way and he is a delight to see!
Rashada Dawan (Mother/Golden Harp/Ice Princess & Sugar Plum Fairy) is a singing and shining sensation delivering (much like Glinda the Good in Wizard of Oz) the messages and true meanings of Christmas with the voice and smile of an angel. Marriott’s costume shop went to town on gowns & wigs for Dawan, each one more elaborate and beautiful than the next.
Leryn Turlington and Brandon Springman (Marie & The Nutcracker Prince) make a sweet and genuine pair as they make their way through lands of toys, snow and sweets with their friends Clara (Lauren Blane) and The Nutcracker Soldier (Alejandro Fonseca). This little group works extremely well together as a force to be reckoned with against the cunning Mouse King and his funny flunkies (Alexis Roston and Jeff Max).
Take a moment of this most wonderful time of year to enjoy an hour of genuine sweetness and charm!
Marriott Theatre presents “The Nutcracker” through December 30 at 10 Marriott Dr, Lincolnshire. More information and tickets are available here.