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Nutcracker – The Tuff Nut Club (Southbank Centre)

Milly

By Milly First Published 16 November 2023, Last Updated 20 November 2023

Last week, I had the pleasure of going to Nutcracker at The Tuff Nut Club, and I couldn’t recommend it enough to anyone looking to see a show this Christmas. The production is part of the Southbank Winter Festival and is running until 6 January 2024.

Two dancers leaping in pink tutu skirts

I really wasn’t quite sure what to expect, as it falls across many categories – ballet, cabaret, live jazz, but somehow it manages to accomplish all these complexities incredibly well.

The venue is small and intimate, and the audience are greeted by the sounds of soft jazz and mood lighting, only adding to the show’s cool cabaret feel. I recommend going early and listening to the band, stopping by the bar for some drinks and popcorn, or just taking in the atmosphere, as once this short performance starts, you’ll be completely engrossed and glued to your seat.

Two dancers holding hands as they move in a room that has sofas and chairs in.

It’s a modern retelling of the Nutcracker’s traditional story, but this fresh perspective is new and exciting, while still embracing the parts we all know and love. Marc Samaras plays Clive, the young protagonist who dreams of a different life, inspired by his Action Man (played by Amonik Melaco) and Sugar Plum Fairy (played by Patricia Zhou) toys. He wakes from his slumber in a dreamland, the Sugar Plum Kingdom, accompanied by Action Man, and after exploring the kingdom, they both watch in delight as the dancers perform their various motifs.

It’s no surprise that the routines are gorgeous, as this show is the vision of esteemed industry choreographer, Drew McOnie (Jesus Christ Superstar, Strictly Ballroom, In The Heights) and is performed by some of the most talented dancers that the industry has to offer. The story has a heartwarming and surprising end that leaves you with the warmest feeling of comfort and festivity.

Two dancers dressed in white hold each other as one leaps.

But, the night is often not yet over! On select performances, all ticket holders are allowed to stay and enjoy the band and a few more drinks until the venue closes – a live music experience they’ve cleverly named Nutcracker Nights.

This isn’t just a night at the theatre – there is so much more rolled into your experience at The Nutcracker. Running until 6 January 2024, book tickets via Official London Theatre here.

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