Instead of the usual lavish house party he gives us a grim Dickensian orphanage where the meagre Christmas tree is whisked away – along with the hand-me-down presents – as soon as the visiting governors have departed.

All is not doom and gloom however, as, at midnight, orphan Clara’s Nutcracker doll turns into a handsome (if fickle) bare-chested youth who breaks down the walls and sweep her off to the white winter wonderland of a frozen lake and the heady pink colour burst of Sweetieland.

Here a trio of athletic gobstoppers, a lascivious cherry-topped knickerbocker glory and a quintet of marshmallow girls make dance – and Tchaikovsky’s music – as fun and as accessible as  a Busby Berkeley musical, but with added bite. 

Sadler’s Wells
Rosebery Avenue
0844 412 4300
Tube: Angel
Until January 22
£10 – £60 

– Louise Kingsley