A truly entertaining production of “The Nutcracker” should leave you questioning whether the performance was just a dream. “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” a take on the holiday classic staged by the New National Theatre, Tokyo, in the run-up to Christmas, is no exception. Performed for the first time in 2017, Wayne Eagling’s choreography is danced with precision and imagination by a rotating cast in the principal roles.
From the moment the strings sweep in with the familiar refrain of “The Nutcracker Suite,” the audience is carried into a world of life-size dolls and dancing snowflakes. Pyotr Illych Tschaikovsky’s renowned score is played masterfully by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. The curtain opens on a snowy and festive winter scene where dancers trade their slippers for skates and skillfully glide across the stage. A bright-eyed and confident young Clara (Riria Kobayashi) takes us through an inviting party scene where we get our first view of the Nutcracker, who later becomes the Prince, played by the mesmerizingly consistent Yudai Fukuoka.