The Nutcracker Scottish Ballet Festival Theatre

There are just a few things that remain to remind me of Christmas in Edinburgh in my childhood days, and let’s be honest, isn’t Christmas always best seen through the eyes of a child?

Sitting in the Festival Theatre last night, I was transported back in time by Scottish Ballet’s wondrous and enthralling production of The Nutcracker – a revival of Peter Darrell’s version first performed over 40 years ago. And they have done Mr Darrell proud.

If you are looking for a theatrical experience that the whole family can enjoy, set aside the pantomimes and other such shows – come and be enchanted here. As much, in a way, a Christmas entertainment as a traditional ballet, there is magic in abundance, and not just from Owen Thorne as the magician Drosselmeyer, although Thorne does deserve special mention for pulling off his magic tricks in addition to his dancing.

As the Colonel and his family sleep after their Christmas party, young Clara (Amy Pollock) enters a dreamworld where her present of a nutcracker, in the shape of a soldier, is transformed into a handsome prince. Together they journey from the Land of Ice and Snow, presided over by The Snow Queen (the almost impossibly graceful Eve Mutso) to The Land of Sweets, realm of The Sugar Plum Fairy (Sophie Martin giving a display of utter perfection in the role).

And all is topped off by the glorious updating of the original design by one of my heroes of theatre, Lez Brotherston. Matthew Bourne’s longtime collaborator has produced sets that captivate and delight, and take us right from the family drawing room to the fantastic fairy lands in truly spectacular fashion.

This is a production that is long on both style and substance, and is a treat for the eyes and ears of all who experience it. I’m glad to say I found no fault, and even more glad to say it made my Christmas special.

Jim Welsh