Stories like this often end with a 'BANG!' I guess that could be where the 'cracker' part of the tale comes in, although Margo in 'The Good Life' would have it that a cracker does not go 'BANG!' but goes 'CRACK' because it is the stem of the noun that identifies it as an object. A 'BANG!' in theatre terms can signify an important event occuring - something shocking, or exciting (I am thinking 'Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang' here or 'Oops - There Go My Bangers' a little known Victorian comedy-melodrama.) Or, indeed, something life-changing, or in Shakespeare's case, that he really shouldn't have used a real life cannon perched on a theatre roof made of reeds as a grand finale for his production of 'Henry VIII.' That was just asking for trouble, that was. Idiot.
Anyway, we left you with a 'BANG!' at the end of Act 7 which made Marie fall off her chair to the floor. And do you know what that 'BANG!' signified?
('Can we tone down the banging, please?' says Primrose. 'I went to the Christmas Party of the local HenFolk And CatPeople Society last night and it was a bit of a heady do. My remaining nerve is jangling with all this untoward banginess.')
I shall tell you what it signified...the breaking of the NutCracker Curse! Oh yes! By declaring that she would love the NutCracker however he looked, the 'Hideous-As-Sin' curse was broken.
'BANG!! And the Curse is Gone!!'
(This production has been sponsored by a well-known cleaning product and NOT Bollinger Champagne as I had originally hoped. Ah well - such is the story of my life.)
But Marie did not know about the breaking of the curse. Not until Mrs Drosselmiggins arrived, bringing with her her very handsome nephew, NutCracker Pete, previously known as the NutCracker, our Mouse-Slaying-Army-Leading-Prince-Of-A-Not-Insubstantial-Kingdom Hero of this Tale!!
'Will you marry me?' said NutCracker Pete, kneeling on the floor before his beloved Marie.
And here we have a small problem. You see, in the original story, Marie is only seven years old, and marriage should be the last thing on her mind. I have no idea how old the NutCracker is in relation, but for a sense of decency I shall say he is the same age as the nutcracker in our kitchen drawer, which is 9. So we can all go 'Ahhhh!' at the scene of two little kiddies pretending to get married.
Luckily, it is also reported in the original story that Marie and the NutCracker do not marry immediately, but that Marie goes to live in his kingdom where she is crowned Queen but doesn't marry him until she is old enough, which in my opinion should be no earlier than 30, thereby avoiding making stupid mistakes and marrying someone completely unsuitable and having to try again when you are a lot older and look a bit sad in a pouffey wedding dress.
And so our performance ends happily ever after! We have got through many pairs of tights, the orchestra is a bit the worse for wear, and I don't think the Sugar Plum Pumphrey is going to stop dancing until well into the New Year, if at all, but it went jolly well, don't you think? At least, I hope it has put you in the mood for a most Happy and Jolly Christmas Day!
Guard your nuts and mind your crackers. Don't stand too close to the pud when you incinerate it with a pint of brandy, but then don't stand too far away that you miss that frisson of excitement that you could be eyebrowless within five seconds. Ironically, we are having a chocolate bombe tomorrow. Andy is suffering angst constructing the thing but I've not heard any explosions yet which bodes well.
Bless you all, our lovely Much Malarkey Manor guests. Thank you all for visiting this year and here's to a Prosperous (and less soggy!) 2015! 🎆