Lights, carols, traditions… you might have noticed Christmas is a-coming. In the US The Nutcrackeris established as a Christmas stalwart and it’s settling in to become one in Brisbane as well. Queensland Ballet gave their first season of The Nutcrackerin 2013 and have performed it annually since, opening its sixth season of Ben Stevenson’s hugely popular production on Friday at the Lyric Theatre.

Nutcracker Kohei Iwamoto and Lou Spichtig in Queensland Ballet’s The Nutcracker, 2018, dress rehearsal. Photograph © David Kelly

The opening bars of Tchaikovsky’s energetic, infectious score initiate a feeling of delightful anticipation. The orchestra under the baton of Nigel Gaynor fill the space with the familiar melodies that are integral to the pleasure of this ballet. The curtain rises and Act 1 opens on a scrim depicting a snowy winter woodland. A comic cavalcade of guests makes their way across the stage, on their way to the Stahlbaum farmhouse for a Christmas party. The set (designed by Thomas Boyd) is a riot of red and green, the colours of glacé cherry and candied angelica, and the action is as nutty as fruitcake. This is a Dickensian Christmas where...