‘The Nutcracker’ Was Just Ruined for Emma

‘The Nutcracker’ Was Just Ruined for Emma


Living in London, I was spoilt for choice of productions  of ‘The Nutcracker’ to choose from in the run up to Christmas – not to mention the amateur thespians who had managed to swing a budget for some tutus and a couple of pairs of mouse ears. So popular is the piece that major American ballet companies generate around 40% of their annual ticket revenues from just from The Nutcracker.

But hey, this is Dubai. We don’t just follow the crowds, we have to take it one step further…. I can only imagine the production discussion:

A: “The Nutcracker? But on Ice? That sounds brilliant!”
B: “Splendid! I’ll get Dubai Mall on the phone and see if we can swing the ice rink – or worst case scenario we oust the penguins from SkiDubai for a couple of days and see….”
A: “Hold your horses, my dear friend … I’ve got a better idea! You know that beautiful stage the opera house has?”
B: “Well yes, it is the premier gem in the stone of Dubai’s theatre crown, don’t you know…” #NotASponsoredAd
A: “How about we dump a boat load of ice on that!? We can have them skate their asses around on that.”
B: “Of course! Why didn’t we think of that sooner. That’s brilliant!”

And brilliant it was! The transformation was incredible, and if you haven’t seen the time lapse video the opera house posted then do take a wee look. ‘Tis above (if you hadn’t already worked that out.)

The scenery was breathtaking and enticed the audience to join the characters in their magical dream world. Scene changes transformed the stage seamlessly throughout the performance and led us brilliantly through Tchaikovsky’s classic score.

Besides the world class skating, The Imperial Ice Stars brought us magic tricks – Drosselmeyer made granny disappear on stage, –  fire art, acrobatics and an amalgamation of dance styles. 

Highlights for me included the dance of the snowflakes – as the skaters began their waltz, the lights dimmed and their tutus lit up. It was so beautiful to see them glide and twirl across the ice. I also loved The jig of the Mouse King, the contrast of the imposing moves, and dark costumes were made only more spectacular as snow came down on the stage. One of the most memorable scenes i’ve ever seen.

I’ve been very vocal about how fidgety I get sitting through productions that don’t hold my attention, but The Nutcracker sucked me in and even had me begrudge the interval (and not just because it was a dry night and Emma couldn’t have a glass of her favorite drink whilst over looking the creek.)

The second half was far superior as the performers picked up the pace and incorporated ropes. At one point, the dancers were suspended from the roof and twirling above the ice. Yeah… nothing by half, eh?

The only negative from the night were the road works around the Opera House. We left in plenty of time, even budgeting for excess traffic but still ended up missing the first 5 minutes as we couldn’t find our usual route. A few temporary signs whilst they fix those roads maybe? If you are going to any production at the Opera House give yourself some extra time to navigate these ‘spaghetti’ like road lanes.

That’s honestly the only criticism I have of this production – oh wait – and that I should have gotten myself to the opening night so I could have raved about it to you all whilst you still had chance to see it. #BadEmma

Anyway, Imperial Stars and Dubai Opera – thank you. You have ruined all future productions of The Nutcracker for me.





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Emma Haylan Hall

British Actress, travel junkie and connoisseur of all things fabulous. Emma's love of performing began at a young age and never left. Not quite as sweet as she looks.

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