The Nutcracker on Ice at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
The Nutcracker on Ice
Review by Claire, Amelia (10) and Charlie (8) Paye
Where I went wrong was in not having read the synopsis of the story in the programme before the show. This led to some confusion:- who was the mysterious bat-like figure who did magic tricks? When Charlie asked who the Nutcracker was, I said he hadn’t turned up yet. This was moments before the end, at which point I deduced that the soldier figure who was the principal male skater was, in fact, the Nutcracker. Others no doubt deduced this at an earlier point.
I therefore write as an amateur in the world of Tchaikovsky, the Nutcracker and ice dancing. And I thoroughly enjoyed the show. It featured beautiful and breath-taking ice skating, which I appreciated all the more when there was the very occasional failed jump. It was visually spectacular, with beautiful costumes and a clever, if slightly basic, backdrop. The dancing was accompanied by the wonderful Tchaikovsky score, which I was able to enjoy without noticing where the editing had occurred, being, as mentioned before, an amateur in everything to do with the Nutcracker.
The Nutcracker on Ice is wonderful entertainment. Along with the dancing there are magic tricks, aerial acrobatics and even fire on the ice. Amelia and Charlie were both absolutely entranced. When leaned upon to provide some memorable quotes for the review, Charlie said he was confused (see above re reading the plot synopsis) but really enjoyed it. He felt the dancing was the best part of the show and that the scenery was very clever. Amelia would not be pressured into identifying a highlight, she enjoyed all of it. Charlie, interestingly, would shy away from recommending it to the hard core footballing and wrestling 7 year old boys in his class, but I suspect they would also love it, if brought along as chaperones for their sisters/you. There were plenty of boys in the audience.
It is a show for all ages and, weighing in at only an hour, is ideal for children. There are a few flashes and bangs but no crying children in the audience. It is really an ice dancing show. Aficionados of The Nutcracker may prefer to see the The Nutcracker on Stage rather than The Nutcracker on Ice. The show started about ten minutes late as you can turn up and buy tickets on the door – although we were there on a Monday, it might sell out other days. There was no fixed seating, so it’s worth turning up early to get a good seat, although it is a fairly small venue (beautifully decorated with stars) so there were good views all round. There are no booster seats, though, so small children may be better off on your knee.
It is worth buying a programme, although I realised that the picture from the front cover and promotional posters doesn’t appear to feature in this particular show, their costumes are different. The still photographs show the technical expertise of the Imperial Ice Stars troupe. We felt the lead dancer, Marii Vygalova on the night we went, was perfect. Aged only 17, she oozed delight in ice dancing, wonder at the dream world she was caught up in and Russian flair.
The Winter Palace Theatre, where the show takes place, is part of the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, which is a destination in itself. It is free to enter. There are lots of top quality fairground rides (tokens cost £1 each, generally 3-4 per ride), Christmas market stalls, two massive food/beer tents with entertainment and decent toilets. It is pushchair friendly. The theatre is at the Marble Arch end of Hyde Park.
The Nutcracker on Ice is a sumptuous, delightful and entertaining feature of the London Christmas landscape and well worth seeing. And unlike, say, Broadchurch, it won’t detract at all if you know something of the plot development.
You can book tickets HERE and find out more.
We love the show so much we are also running a family ticket competition by visiting: www.whattodowiththekids.co.uk/competitions/all-competitions/the-nutcracker-at-hyde-park-winter-wonderland