Nutcracker — 13/14 & 20/21 January 2012

See details of the show in 1997Cast details for 2012Reviews - Author's Ode!Video

Cast photos taken by Angus McKay at the Dress Rehearsal, 8th January and sent to the Press:—

Sugar Plum Fairy (Karina Farnlucher) and the wicked witch Madria (Tina Wareham)

Sergeant Rock (David Burnham) and Corporal Fudge (Mel White) – two soldiers in charge of guarding the Fortress of Sweets in Candyland, recently seen as Basil and Polly in our Fawlty Towers!

Prince Nikki (Terrie Howey) fights Gnawman, the Mouse King (Luke Oates), who played Manuel in our Fawlty Towers

Clara (Anastazja Kendal) and Frederick (Adam Ferguson) with Prince Nikki.

Photos from the stage:—
Taken at Dress Rehearsal 8th January by Angus McKay [DR] & the Last Night 21st Jan by Deb Williamson [LN]

Act 1

The lighted Christmas Tree rises like magic in the Stahlbaum's house [LN]

Hans (John McGregor) and Lisa (Jean Teuten) give Uncle Drosselmeyer's present to Frederick (Adam Ferguson) and Clara (Anastazja Kendal) [DR]

Uncle Drosselmeyer (Rod Sharp) describes how works the Nutcracker [DR]

Clara: "I could be Happy with You" [DR]

King Gnawman (Luke Oates) and his motley band of mice appear L to R: Natasha Hibberd, Katherine Wellen, Abigail, Zya, Emily, Tiana [DR]

Uncle Drosselmeyer addresses Frederick [DR]

The stage crew (Paul Wareham caught here) join in Nutrocker on the last night! [LN]

The toy soldiers roll out the cannon in the Battle of the Bedroom [DR]

Battle commences between King Gnawman and Prince Nikki (Terrie Howey) [DR]

At the end, Prince Nikki has Gnawman at his mercy [DR]

Drosselmeyer and his two assistants Kurt (Martin Wellen, R) and Weil (Peter Glinn, L) hatch up a plan to catch the mice, by using a 'Transmouseturiser' to convert then into chocolate-coated mice [DR]

By the last night, things had changed a little … [LN]

… and a little more! [LN]

Gnawman and his henchmice plan their attack: "Sweet, sweet the memories you gave to me" [DR]

Nikki, Clara and Frederick arrive at the Fortress of Sweets in Candyland – and fairies (of all ages!) dance to the tune of the 'Sugar Plum Fairy' [DR]

Sugar Plum explains to Nikki how things have gone down the pan in Candyland since [s]he left [LN]

Sergeant Rock (David Burnham) and Corporal Fudge (Mel White) line their soldiers up to defend the Fortress [DR]

The toy soldiers pile up at the end of performing Tchaikovsky's Russian Dance – Top to Bottom: Thomas Hiller, Tommy Sharkey, Zak White, Hugo Millard [DR]

[sent to Press as pre-publicity]

A Guardsman's lot is not a happy one! [LN]

"I see you've brought your bird with you" [LN]

The mice have escaped under cover of the '1812 Overture'. The soldiers pursue them into the interval break! [DR]

Act 2

Opening number: "Big Rock Candy Mountain" [DR]

Rock shows how he's been 'labelled for life' [LN]

Trying to find a soldier's uniform for Frederick – this one's a bit fishy! [LN]

… but this one's just right [LN]

Victoria & Abigail perform the Arabian Dance [DR]

Wendy Downs & Jill Turner perform the Chinese Dance [DR]

John & Kay McGregor perform the Spanish Dance, with assistance from Jean Teuten & Julie Findley [DR]

Twitt the Owl (Mark Spiller) tells Sugar Plum (Karina Farnlucher) and Prince Nikki that help may be on the way, at some time … [DR]

Well, how was it for you at Bohunt School? [DR]

"Tree Elves can help themselves" – and so can Tchaikovsky! [LN]

The Flower Fairies dance for Tchaikovsky – may he smile benevolently down upon them! [DR]

Drosselmeyer tells Twitt he's a twit! [DR]

Kurt & Weil try out the Transmoueturiser [LN]

Rock & Fudge are surrounded by Tree Elves in the eco-friendly Forest Centre [DR]

Difficult to see Tree Elves in the dark, so here they are at the end of the show! [LN]

"If you go down to the woods today" [DR]

Fighting. They're at it again!! [DR]

The mice are Transmouseturised – three down, more to go! [LN]

And so our story is almost at an end – the curtains close on Clara & Frederick leaving Drosselmeyer in front [LN]

Nobody leaves until we have sung the Community Song … [DR]

… well, that seemed to work! [LN]

"See what a pair of sleepyheads we have here … and on Christmas morning!" [DR]

"The Holly and the Ivy" – with Twitt back in his rightful place behind the clock [DR]

Kurt & Weil have made a Dream Machine, in 5 minutes … [LN]

… in rainbow colours! [LN]

The cast perform their walk-down through the machine, bringing dreams to reality, and the show to a close [DR]

But where are the mice? [DR]

All is forgiven – they are Transmouseturised back to life to take their bow with the rest [LN]

The grand finale [DR]

A worrying time just before the Last Night's performance for Author/Director (Jo Smith), Lighting & Sound Technician (Neil Hardinge) and Stage Manager (Paul Heath) – bovvered, us?


Review on East Hampshire District Council website

Review by Monty Ravenscroft:—

The Headley Theatre Club, always known for its innovative and imaginative productions, surpassed itself at the week-end. Jo Smith wrote and directed, with some apologies to Tchaikovsky, a brilliant production of Nutcracker at Headley Village Hall.

The 14 songs, some based on Tchaikovsky's music but mostly by others such as Kurt Weill and Arthur Sullivan, were well sung by various combinations from a cast list of 50, and moved the action along smartly whilst Jo Levy kept the musicians on cue with some excellent playing of the piano.

Special mention must go to the costumes, designed and mostly made by Dil Williamson-Smith: the sheer volume of at least 75 different outfits was as extraordinary as their quality and range. From bust to bottom, the serried ranks were truly eye popping in their magnificence; so much so, that the same style of costume could be seen on a grandmother right down to a grand-daughter - yet all worn with equal aplomb.

The acting played strongly to the possibilities of panto and it was clear that many of them, including over 20 guests, fairies, soldiers and the junior chorus, were enjoying immensely their roles. I hesitate to pick any in such an array of talent, but in the forefront is Gnawman, the mouse king, played by Luke Oates. As the villain, his powerful voice resonated through the building, though I did wonder how much he'd have left for the evening performance. He was assisted by his team of militant mice led by Natasha Hibberd and Katherine Wellen.

Anastazja Kendal, aged 12, played a willowy Clara in whose dream we are led a merry dance, along with her brother Frederick who is delightfully inhabited by the 8 year old Adam Ferguson. Terrie Howey is the charming defender of evil as Prince Nikki, though I'd call for a stiffer sword from props next time.

The ever-dependable Rod Sharp held the story together as the mysterious Uncle Drosslemeyer, aided by his able assistants Kurt (Martin Wellen) and Weill (Peter Glinn) and by his own creation, Twitt the Owl (Mark Spiller).

The sweet-hearted troops guarding Candyland were led by Sgt Rock (David Burnham), with letters through his middle, and Cpl Fudge (Mel White), and their four toy soldiers performed a stomping version of Tchaikovsky's Russian dance to comic effect.

In all, this is an astonishing ensemble affair and not by any means the average village panto. Smut and sight enough to tickle the elders, with drama and delight to draw in the youngsters.

Ode by the Author

Christmas time has gone, by golly,
Cracking nuts and pricks of holly
All past now, but let's remember
How it was come last December.

That's the time, you may recall,
We spread ourselves across the Hall –
Stage crew here, lighting there,
Cast and costumes everywhere.

But on the night 'twas quite all right –
No icy roads, no Asian 'flu,
The cast arrived, nobody skived,
We even got an audience too.

Can you deny a Drosselmeyer
Keeps things going, always knowing
When and where to pop up next
(As if it's written in the text),
With owl or crazy new machine,
Made by his henchmen, Kurt and Weil,
He wins the day in every way,
Sartorial elegance, satirical smile.

Fred and Clara start to spar for
This here cracker – put him back or
Else we'll have an armless Nikki,
And that'll make him feel all dicky.

Gnawman's army's on the loose,
They're after sweet delight at night,
Tail-swinging rodents cross the stage
To line up for a fearsome fight.

The soldiers come, the soldiers run,
And Nikki's left alone, supposed
To face the dread of Gnawman's wrath
With rubber sword and broken nose.

He's on the floor, he'll be no more,
He's cracked his last pistachio,
Then Clara takes her slipper off
And starts to get all macho.

A ricochet that fells the band,
A flying slipper wins the day,
And Gnawman's nasty nest of nasties
Slyly slowly slinks away. (Twice!)

So off to Candyland we go
To see the fairies, surely no,
They've all got pension books – oh dear!
But wait - there's more – no need to fear
For lack of culture – be amazed,
The fairies hobble 'cross the stage
And soldiers wear gay uniforms
And sweets & Snickers grow on walls;
And here the Sugar fairy Plumbs
The depths to show her people's talent,
Dancing from the continents, so
Quite unlike Tchaikovsky's ballet.

What's this 'ere? The owl's got clear
And see, he's dropped a massive load;
A box of chox designed to fox
Any mouse who takes this road.

Fudge and Rock arrive to block
The passage through the wood,
Alas they're lost and double-crossed,
Those mice are in no mood
To let them free, but then we see
The Tree Elves helping out –
They pull the box in with the chox in –
Gnawman's sniffy snout
Leads him to suffer Transmousturisation
The end of the show and great joy in the nation!

So, (sing along please!)
If you want a show to go, please
Come to Headley where we run the best ones,
We try to entertain you, in the snow or rain you'll
Never find a better cast & crew for miles around –
With the lights upon the stage, we
Spin a splendid tale for old and young folk,
Comedy or tragic, we are always magic,
Now and always!

Return to Headley Theatre Club home page