ONE of the most enchanting of this excellent season of Christmas shows was at Salisbury’s Medieval Hall on 21st December, when Crescendo Concerts for Kids brought their new version of The Nutcracker to the Cathedral Close.
The show, written by Petra Schofield, follows the adventures of two sisters leaving the house of a beloved grandmother for the last time. Uncle D arrives with his annual bagful of surprises, this year including a nutcracker, but the sisters’ squabbling leaves the toy broken. How it’s mended is a lesson for both of them.
As the story unfolds, the brilliant musical quintet plays Rob Buckland’s arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s familiar and ever-popular Nutcracker Suite, complete with Russian and Chinese dances and, of course, the Sugar Plum Fairy’s own moment.
The company is musical director, oboist and Chinese gatekeeper Julie Payne, harpist, actor and roller skater Scarlett Smith, saxophonist (and sister), and actor Brian Hargeaves (last year seen as composer, MD and actor in the wonderful Chloe and the Colour Catcher, on tour again in spring 2020), violinist, dancer and bubbleologist Aelfwyn Shipton and cellist and actor Rosanna Lowe, with Petra Schofield as a sister, all working together to create the magic, adventure and delight of a show aimed at young children but equally entrancing for parents and grandparents.
The intimacy and immediacy of the musical arrangements and performances remind you how little Tchaikovsky needs lush orchestration as the individual rhythms come to the front.
There are three performances at each venue, starting at 11am, 1 and 3pm. You can see the 50-minute show at Devizes on 3rd, Street on 4th and Chippenham on 5th January.
For more information visit the website, www.crescendoconcerts.co.uk