I feel I should be starting the New Year in a slightly more energised (for want of a better term) fashion than the one I am doing, to wit: curled up in my arm chair knitting a sleeve for my cardigan, playing Super Mario online, watching far more West Wing in a day than is good for a person and eating the Cadbury mini fingers I’d forgotten I bought before Christmas.
I also feel I should be writing some kind of ‘review of 2011 post’ and ‘resolutions for 2012’ kind of post but, if truth be told, I don’t hold much stock by that kind of thing. 2011 happened and 2012 is going to happen, that’s really all you need to know. Of course I’m making the usual half hearted resolutions about eating sensibly (once the Cadbury mini fingers are finished), going to bed early and so on. My real vague aims for the New Year involve getting over my irrational fear of crochet hooks and learning to crochet and also taking class in a dance form that isn’t ballet (along with going back to ballet once my sanity break is over). I think they’re realistically achievable aims.
Whilst today is clearly a day of slothliness, yesterday – the last day of 2011 – was really quite jolly and full: double whammy at my spiritual home followed by yummy dinner chez my lovely pals. Midnight was really quite civilised: we went outside, went ‘ooh’ at some fireworks, drank some bubbly, toasted then decided it was cold and we were going back in to watch TV.
Magical Night was the first of the double whammy at my spiritual home. Choreographed by Aletta Collins with a score by Kurt Weill, it’s the tale of two children and their toys which come alive at night. Obviously they’re not meant to find this out but they do and adventure ensues. It’s jolly good fun essentially, pulls in at a little over an hour and really appeals to the imagination of… I’d say young children, but I know I’m still totally convinced that toys come to life once you’ve turned the light out for the night. There’s a toy in it for everyone although I admit to being marginally creeped out by ‘Tumble Tot’, I really liked the ninja/Power Ranger-esque figure and the robot spaceman mind you. It’s funny, it’s charming, it’s incredibly well danced and, essentially, good fun for all the family.
After a luncheon respite it was back for the evening performance of Nutcracker. Hurrah. I’ve said before that I prefer to keep my Nutcracker viewing until after Christmas to try and combat the post festive slump. However, a couple of years ago I discovered it was a pretty magical way to spend New Year’s Eve. A five thirty curtain up is perfect to kick start the downward slide to midnight and affords you the opportunity to go out afterwards if that’s your bent!
It was night of a million (okay, five) last minute cast changes – including (woewoeandthricewoe!) Lauren Cuthbertson & Rupert Pennefather in the grand pas de deux – but that’s somewhat by the by really. I love the Nutcracker, okay. Don’t judge me. Too much. Again, as I’ve said before, I prefer to stay out of the ‘political debate’ surrounding it. All that aside… the Royal’s performance is lovely with some truly scrumptious moments and beautiful sets. The problem was, last night it just fell a bit flat in places in a way I don’t know that it ever has before when I’ve seen it. Christopher Saunders’ Drosselmeyer doesn’t quite cut it in the same way that Gary Avis’ does – he doesn’t quite have the right sparkle/magic/slightly creepy undertone that Avis does, the Chinese dance seemed a little out of sync, I’ve always been irritated by the Mirlitons and, I confess, I do tend to let my mind wander a bit in the party scene.
ON THE OTHER HAND… it wasn’t all doom and gloom, mostly it was particularly lovely and heartwarming and all the rest of that jazz. The battle with the Mouse King was marvy bon (I am always amused by the tiny mouse stretcher). The Arabian dance is quite definitely my favourite divert – it’s just so slow and perfect. The Waltz of the Flowers is another favourite. The Snowflakes just grabs your heart in the right place and… mah. Yeah. Oh and the grand pas de deux. We may have been deprived of Lauren&Rupert BUT it did mean bonus Marianela Nunez ably supported by Nehemiah Kish. I may have, once or twice, mentioned my shameless love of Marianela before. I think, for me, her Sugar Plum Fairy is the one. She just… sparkles throughout. And she looks so happy, this megawatt smile reaching up to the very top of the amph. You can’t not love watching her, she just looks like she’s having so much fun and there’s nowhere else on earth she’d rather be. The only teeny problem I had with the grand pas de deux was that… well, supportive and steady though Kish is, he isn’t Thiago Soares and there were occasional moments where you got the feeling it was just slightly too well controlled and if Marianela had been partnered by Thiago she’d have been a damn sight more reckless. Still, her infectious smile more than made up for it and I left with a good case of the warm fuzzies.
So that’s that, peeps. 2011 is over, 2012 is upon us and I hope it’s jolly good all round for all of you! Grands biiiiiiiiiiiiiisous!