REVIEW: English National Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’ – London Coliseum, December 2013


Christmas is a time for magic. Nothing is more magical than a trip to the ballet so I seized the opportunity to watch English National Ballet’s Nutcracker at the London Coliseum.


With a plethora of pantomimes on offer at the moment, those seeking alternative festive fare should pirouette their way to the capital to see English National Ballet’s stylish Nutcracker at the London Coliseum. Currently captivating audience members of all ages, this is the perfect seasonal show for the whole family.

Former Artistic Director Wayne Eagling’s interpretation of the timeless classic is set in a frost-covered Edwardian London winter, on an enchanted Christmas Eve.

Anticipation is in the air as Clara and her brother Freddie prepare for their family’s Christmas party. The Christmassy scene is set with some clever ice skating and the children attending the matinee performance are transfixed from this point on.


English National Ballet's Nutcracker at the London Coliseum (photo by Guy Farrow and Patrick Baldwin)

English National Ballet’s Nutcracker at the London Coliseum (photography by Guy Farrow and Patrick Baldwin)

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REVIEW: Lights, camera, action: Dancing from stage to screen as Royal Opera House brings Royal Ballet LIVE: ‘The Nutcracker’ to cinemas all over the world – Thursday 12th December 2013


The Royal Ballet perform The Nutcracker

Part of the Royal Opera House Live Season 2013–14

Cineworld, Milton Keynes, Thursday 12th December 2013


Festive favourite The Nutcracker is a traditional part of the repertoire of The Royal Ballet, performed at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. This enchanting and enduring ballet epitomises the spirit and imagination of Christmas and is the ideal introduction to classical ballet (for children and adults alike).

Choreographed to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score, Peter Wright’s production for The Royal Ballet was first seen in Covent Garden in 1984 and, after some tweaking in 1999, remains a must-see version. Set on Christmas Eve, the ballet features a big family party, toys that magically come to life, glittering snowflakes and a kingdom of sweets.

Unsurprisingly, tickets for this season’s run of The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House have long sold out. However, veteran balletomanes and curious newcomers alike were given the opportunity to enjoy the Christmas-themed ballet last night at cinemas around the world as part of the Royal Opera House Live Cinema series.


The Royal Ballet. The Nutcracker. Laura Morera and Federico Bonelli (as The Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier) in 'The Nutcracker' (photo by Tristram Kenton, ROH, 2013).

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REVIEW: Panto Perfection with ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, December 2013


Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, off to Panto-land we go with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs!


Seven diamond-mining dwarfs and a handsome prince battle to save a beautiful princess from the tyranny of her jealous stepmother in this year’s seasonal spectacular at Milton Keynes Theatre. The timeless fairytale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is brought to life with charismatic characters, toe-tapping song and dance numbers and stunning sets — plus plenty of comedy.


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Milton Keynes Theatre, December 2013 pantomime. The Magical Book of Panto and a Magic Wand.

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FEATURE: Christmas is coming… (“0h yes it is!”) – Panto 2013 at Milton Keynes Theatre: ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ media launch, September 2013


The year 2013 hurtles on and, as we welcome in the autumn, the elves are already busily getting to work on Christmas plans at Milton Keynes Theatre. Nothing says Christmas quite like the wonderful British tradition of pantomime and this year’s seasonal merriment will come courtesy of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

I was lucky enough to be invited to Frosts Garden Centre in Woburn Sands for the official media launch of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This was the first chance for the stars to meet, be photographed together in costume and be interviewed by showbiz journalists from across the region!


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs pantomime at Milton Keynes Theatre, Christmas 2013. Cast: Prince Charming (Shaun Dalton), Snow White (Kate Stewart), Wicked Queen (Jennifer Ellison) and Warwick Davis as 'Prof'

The cast: Prince Charming (Shaun Dalton), Snow White (Kate Stewart), Wicked Queen (Jennifer Ellison) and Warwick Davis as ‘Prof’


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BOOK REVIEW: ‘Calling Mrs Christmas’ by Carole Matthews, August 2013


Calling Mrs Christmas by Carole Matthews, a seasonal book that is full of festive fun.



“Deck the halls with boughs of holly…!”


While the sun streams in through the open window and social media alerts inform me that everyone I know is jetting off on their summer holidays, I can be found with my nose in Carole Matthews’ latest Christmas-themed novel, Calling Mrs Christmas

Internationally bestselling romantic comedy author Carole lives in Milton Keynes and releases two books a year – one in time for some summer fun and one as a Christmassy treat. Tales of romance, family and friendship guarantee a page-turner every time and Carole’s dedicated fans eagerly await each new release.

Some of her books are set in the ‘Costa del Keynes’ (a little Carole-ism which I find myself adopting with frightening regularity) and showcase local haunts. The rest feature other parts of the UK, often with a few chapters spent in some exciting location or other (giving our Carole the perfect excuse to escape her office in the new city and enjoy a research trip with partner Lovely Kev).

I was fortunate enough to receive a pre-release edition of Calling Mrs Christmas, the twenty-third novel from this talented lady. Unsurprisingly, this Christmas cracker shot straight to the top of my “to read” pile!

Pick up any of Carole’s books and you can expect upbeat prose, a strong storyline and captivating characters. Calling Mrs Christmas delivers these and more. View Post