the script Tchaikovsky might have set to music, if only he'd known . . .
- adapted from the original story by ET Hoffmann
A pantomime written in a traditional style, but at the same time refreshingly different, Nutcracker treats your cast to some well made characters and dialogue, and conspires to involve your audience to the maximum.
Based loosely on the original Christmas Eve story, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King written by E.T.A. Hoffman in 1816, this script also incorporates the well-loved music of Tchaikovsky's ballet for dances and some of its fifteen songs.
As well as the named principals, there is plenty of scope for including an undefined number of senior and junior chorus members in the show.
Principals: Male 5, Female 4, Indeterminate 8
© John Owen Smith 1993
This pantomime uses four different full set scenes, separated by front of
curtain scenes to allow for backstage activity. Directions given are those used
in the original production, but use your imagination according to the facilities
available to you.
A list of songs used in the original production is included for your guidance. Where special words were written these are also included, but feel free to adapt or adopt your own as required. Naturally we were drawn towards using some of Tchaikovsky's tunes.
The concept of the Community Song is where the audience is invited to come up on the stage to help out, and some sort of raucous competition ensues between those brave enough to come up and those left sitting in the auditorium. ("Invited" is perhaps a little inaccurate on occasions, when members of the cast go down in search of friends and other victims!). The positioning of this event just before the final scene also gives people not involved plenty of time to change into their finery for the Walkdown.
So good luck with your show. Put in local variations as you wish, and if you think you can improve on the verse then do that too! Have fun - otherwise, why do it?
The Headley Theatre Club, always known for its innovative and imaginative productions, surpassed itself at the week-end. Jo Smith wrote and directed, with some apologies to Tchaikovsky, a brilliant production of Nutcracker at Headley Village Hall.
The 14 songs, some based on Tchaikovsky's music but mostly by others such as Kurt Weill and Arthur Sullivan, were well sung by various combinations from a cast list of 50, and moved the action along smartly whilst Jo Levy kept the musicians on cue with some excellent playing of the piano.
Special mention must go to the costumes, designed and mostly made by Dil Williamson-Smith: the sheer volume of at least 75 different outfits was as extraordinary as their quality and range. From bust to bottom, the serried ranks were truly eye popping in their magnificence; so much so, that the same style of costume could be seen on a grandmother right down to a grand-daughter - yet all worn with equal aplomb.
The acting played strongly to the possibilities of panto and it was clear that many of them, including over 20 guests, fairies, soldiers and the junior chorus, were enjoying immensely their roles. I hesitate to pick any in such an array of talent, but in the forefront is Gnawman, the mouse king, played by Luke Oates. As the villain, his powerful voice resonated through the building, though I did wonder how much he'd have left for the evening performance. He was assisted by his team of militant mice led by Natasha Hibberd and Katherine Wellen.
Anastazja Kendal, aged 12, played a willowy Clara in whose dream we are led a merry dance, along with her brother Frederick who is delightfully inhabited by the 8 year old Adam Ferguson. Terrie Howey is the charming defender of evil as Prince Nikki, though I'd call for a stiffer sword from props next time.
The ever-dependable Rod Sharp held the story together as the mysterious Uncle Drosslemeyer, aided by his able assistants Kurt (Martin Wellen) and Weill (Peter Glinn) and by his own creation, Twitt the Owl (Mark Spiller).
The sweet-hearted troops guarding Candyland were led by Sgt Rock (David Burnham), with letters through his middle, and Cpl Fudge (Mel White), and their four toy soldiers performed a stomping version of Tchaikovsky's Russian dance to comic effect.
In all, this is an astonishing ensemble affair and not by any means the average village panto. Smut and sight enough to tickle the elders, with drama and delight to draw in the youngsters.
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