Guests arrive at the Stahlbaum house for a Christmas Eve party. Clara's uncle, Herr Drosslemeyer, a magician, is among the guests. He introduces Clara to his nephew and gives her a nutcracker doll, which is broken by Freddie, Clara's brother. It is magically mended. Drosselmeyer presents a magical puppet show. The guests leave after the party and Clara is sent to bed.
Waking at midnight, Clara hears noises downstairs and goes to investigate. Magically, the Christmas tree grows larger and larger, and Clara is attacked by mice. She is rescued by the Nutcracker doll, commanding a regiment of Freddie's toy soldiers. The Nutcracker is injured and the soldiers are captured by the mice. Clara and the Nutcracker escape into the snow, followed by the King of the Mice, where they are hidden by a snowstorm. A hot-air balloon, containing Drosselmeyer, lands in the forest and flies them to safety in the Kingdom of the Sweets. Unfortunately they fail to realise that the King of the Mice is hanging from the bottom of the balloon's basket.
Landing in the Kingdom of the Sweets. Drosslemeyer and the Nutcracker finally manage to defeat the King of the Mice. Clara is entertained by dances given by the Sweets. She is transformed into the Sugar Plum Fairy, and dances with the Nutcracker, who takes on the appearance of Drosselmeyer's nephew.
Waking on Christmas Day, Clara wonders if it has all been a dream. Looking out of the door, she sees the hot air balloon flying past....
“When I first did Giselle, she was always in blue and I had great fights about it, but it was only the influence of Walt Disney. Now I notice that not all Giselle’s are in blue, so maybe I made some poor attempt to influence them”.
What the critics thought:
An incredibly pompous interview with the designer!