I probably won’t bother with the Nutcracker this year but if I do it will definitely be the English National Ballet’s version. The Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker is very traditional but ultimately rather fussy and cluttered. Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! is silly and fun but only if you already know the story (and it is not on this year).
I first saw the ENB (then the London Festival Ballet) perform the Nutcracker back in the 60s and loved it. I’ve seen their current production, choreographed by Wayne Eagling, for the last two Christmases and it gets it perfectly. It gently breaks with tradition to add to the tale with fun touches, such as the skaters in the opening scene and the balloon flight, but keeps the magic. If you do want to see one Nutcracker this year, particularly if you are new to the ballet, do try the ENB first.