Nutcracker, Vienna Festival Ballet, Grand Opera House, York, October 27

HOW delightful to finally experience this particular ballet performed by the ever-competent Vienna Festival Ballet Company. Beautifully choreographed, gorgeously costumed and thoroughly rehearsed, it was a joy to watch.

Stand out performances included Angela Centomini as Clara, graceful, expressive and completely on point; Dean Rushton as the Sugar Plum, cavalier, generously supportive of a rather studied Grace Hume’s Sugar Plum Fairy and effortless in his solo pieces; Thomas Bradshaw as the Nutcracker and the ever-professional and perfect Rachel Victoria Hernon as the Snow Queen and the lead of the Arabian dance in the Kingdom of Sweets act.

Ballet Mistress Emily Hufton is to be congratulated for the perfection of the two main set pieces, the Snowflake Waltz and the Waltz of the Flowers, as both have the capacity to go badly wrong when ill-prepared on a small stage such as that of the Opera House.

It is testament to her work with the corps de ballet that each was a triumph of timing and grace, drawing forth audible sighs of satisfaction from the audience. A lovely way to spend a Saturday evening.

Alison Spaven