Disclaimer: the Lady of the Manor would like it to be known she has had absolutely NOTHING whatsoever to do with this year's Christmas production. She counselled VERY strongly against the balletic approach and defintely against the so-called 'artistic interpretations' that she feels act in direct detriment to the pure and faithful delivery of the original story, which, if she had maintained control, would have been adhered to,and in spades.
What she is trying to say is if you want a load of crackers and nuttiness then surrender your annual production to a bunch of chickens. You have been warned. Any similarities to the original Nutcracker story are purely co-incidental. The Management cannot and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies or, indeed, inadequacies. Please wear the protective goggles provided. Thank you.
Camilla - Marie Stahlbaum, the child heroine
Mrs Miggins - Drosselmiggins, a Doting Godmother and Inventor
Mrs Poo - the Seven Headed Mouse King (Boo! Hiss!)
Mrs Slocombe - Madame Mouserinks, the Mouse Queen (Double Boo! Double Hiss!)
Primrose - The King/ Marie's Father
Daisy - The Queen/ Marie's Mother
Mrs Pumphrey - Princess Pearly Pants/ the Sugar Plum Pumphrey
Mrs Bennett - the Court Astrologer
Tango Pete - the NutCracker/ Nephew/ general all-round Hero and Mouse Slayer
It was the night before Christmas, or Christmas Eve if you will, and in the home of the Stahlbaum's there was the usual Christmas Eve fractiousness and chaos caused by horrid children who won't go to bed because they are way too over-excited about the arrival of Santa, and ridiculously tanked up on sugar, chocolate and more sugar. And chocolate.
Marie, her big brother Fritz, and older sister Louise (who was way too cool for Christmas and was sulking in a corner under a long fringe) were waiting with great eagerness the arrival of their very clever and hugely talented godmother, Mrs Drosselmiggins, for every year she arrived on Christmas Eve bearing beautiful gifts, although why she bothered she never knew because she never got so much as a sniff of a 'Thank you' letter from her ungrateful godchildren. Still, Christmas was all about 'da kidz' and it wouldn't be many years before they would be cursed with spoilt brats of their own and there we should all be thankful for Universal Karmic influences as an effortless form of revenge.
Now Mrs Drosselmiggins was not only an inventor extraordinaire, but a sock-maker, too and...
('Pssssst...clock-maker, NOT sock-maker...)
...er,right...a clock-maker and her clockwork toys were the talk of the town. And this year, her gift to her godchildren was a magnificent clockwork castle, complete with tiny mechanical people.
'To be honest,' said Fritz, 'I'd have preferred socks. I mean, it doesn't do much, does it, this castle? Once you've wound up the little people and watched them run around a bit, well, that's it, isn't it?'
'To be honest,' retorted Louise, emerging from her fringe, 'you wind me up. You are even more boring than a mechanical castle full of mechanical people. You are like 'Mechanobore Boy' only more boring.'
'Shut up, you long-fringed freakazoid!' shouted Fritz.
'Boring! Boring!' shouted Louise.
And the brother and sister launched themselves into a festive fracas of much screaming, shrieking and the hurling of often inventive and sometimes quite rude insults.
Marie, who was of a slightly more agreeable temperament than her older brother and sister, sighed and sat by the Christmas Tree. Okay, so the clockwork castle was a little boring, but it was a beautiful work of art, and it wasn't socks, and in many years to come it would, not doubt, become a much valued family heirloom.
'But what is this?' she said, her attention suddenly drawn to another of Mrs Drosselmiggins' gifts that had been cast carelessly to one side, probably because it was small and ugly as sin. Marie picked it up and examined it carefully.
'It's a Nutcracker,' explained Mrs Drosselmiggins, who, quite frankly, couldn't wait to get away from the Stahlbaum house and be off to the nearest pub for a pint of Bailey's on ice and a mince pie.
'What does it do?' said Marie.
Mrs Drosselmiggins stared at her godchild. 'Really?' she said. 'Really?? You are asking me the purpose of a nutcracker? A cracker of nuts? Think, child. THINK!'
And she tweaked the child's ear sharply to assist the thinking process.
'Ah!' said Marie. And 'Ouch!' because it was quite a sharp ear tweak. 'It's for cracking nuts.'
'Sheesh!' said Mrs Drosselmiggins, rolling her eyes and thinking maybe it ought to be a double pint of Bailey's on ice, forget the mincepie.
'Here,' said Fritz, who had finished fighting with his sister and was now eavesdropping as small boys are wont to do. 'Let me crack this nut with the Nutcracker.' And he produced the most enormous of nuts which any fool could see would be way too big to be cracked by anything smaller than an industrial strength pile-driver. But small boys are persistent and refuse to be told 'No' and so, for a quiet life, he was allowed to crack the nut with the Nutcracker and, suprise surprise, broke it. The Nutcracker, not the nut. The nut was too big. Remember?
'You idiot,' said Louise, who'd had enough of all the Christmas Eve bonhomie and had decided to go to her room and complete another entry in her diary entitled, 'How Dull and Boring Is My Life?'
'Don't call me an idiot, you...you...idiot,' said Fritz, rather uninspiringly.
'You've broken the Nutcracker,' said Marie, reproachfully. 'He was such a lovely little soldier Nutcracker, and now he has a broken jaw. Look, it's all flippy floppy.'
'It's a vast improvment if you ask me,' said Louise, and off she went to her room, taking a Christmas chocolate selection pack with her.
Marie looked around her. On the floor was a discarded ribbon, leftover from the wrapping of the mechanical castle. She picked up the ribbon and fashioned it into a colourful, if slightly effeminate, bandage around the Nutcracker's broken jaw.
'There,' she said. 'All better.'
'Gank you,' said the Nutcracker. Or at least, that is what Marie thought she heard. But she put the thought immediately from her head. I mean, it would be complete crazy talk, wouldn't it, if the Nutcracker were to, oh I don't know - come to life, for example.
('Well,' said Primrose,'I think that went very well, don't you?'
'Well, nobody fell over,' said Camilla, who was very excited at being cast as the Christmas heroine.
'An auspicious start,' said Primrose. 'I can't wait for Act 2.'
'Me neither,' said Camilla.')