It’s on its way... my first seasonal show of the year before I magically turn into ‘Panto Pete’ and what a lovely cultural curtain-raiser for Christmas.

Tinsel-coated tradition is the order of the day as a live orchestra under conductor Evgenii Kirilov and more than 30 musicians re-creating a charming Nutcracker.

While Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake played to packed out audiences at the Empire thanks to the English National Ballet, here the ten-year-old Russian State Ballet and Opera Theatre of Astrakhan were only here for one night as part of a mammoth 47 performance UK tour.

They have been alternating with sublime versions of Swan Lake and Giselle.

Let’s hope they make a longer trek next time they are on tour such is the demand for quality shows on the Wirral. The Vienna Festival Ballet are at the Floral in April with Coppelia.

here Nutcracker a classical, family-orientated ballet is given the whole fairy tale treatment.

It is directed and choreographed by the former award-winning Bolshoi Ballet soloist, Konstantin Uralsky.

Grace, joy and dedication fill every stage they appear on.

A ‘pop-up’ book style set captures a Christmas childhood with dream visits from a harlequin, battling mice and tin soldiers with a backdrop of a gift-laden Christmas tree.

With such a large company it would be very ‘un Christmassy’ of me to single out any one dancer in a diverse, predominantly youthful cast.

There is a leading creative team of eight, a corps de Ballet of 30 and ten principals.

Teamwork is the key and it runs crisp and even throughout.

A highlight for the wide-aged group audience was a warm and enchanting Act 2 and a collection of what I call the ‘United Nations of Dance’ (thankfully not Brexit) as we were treated to original choreography in the Arabian, Spanish, Chinese, Russian and French movements

This is a slick, beautifully directed and atmospheric ballet that continues touring until December 5.

A delightful reminder that the festive season has arrived and is being celebrated in such sparkling company.

Globe verdict:

Nutcracking - Four Stars!

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