English National Ballet's version features flying pastry cooks, a Christmas tree which grows and grows, and a monster mouse king (Royal Festival Hall, December 16-January 11, 0171 960 424; working rehearsal 2pm, December 16). Scottish Ballet embarks on a final tour of founder Peter Darrell's offering to Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Blackpool (0141 333 1092), hot on the heels of Birmingham Royal Ballet's snazzy Nutcracker Sweeties (0121 622 2555).
(Photograph) - Heralding a seasonal quartet of crackers, Kirov Ballet's unmissable Nutcracker (above, London Coliseum, December 17-January 4, 0171 632 8300) features young dancers from St Petersburg's famed Vaganova Ballet Academy. In the Russian version, the central character of Klara - taken on a magical journey by the Nutcracker Prince - becomes Masha, played by two performers: a young girl and a mature dancer.
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