Since moving to its present 46 Berkeley Square home, London members’ club Annabel’s has become noted for its spectacular Christmas decorations that take in the whole building. Last year, it was a 42ft ‘Christmas tree’ (actually a printed screen on scaffolding) complete with snow and equally huge gold baubles, and copper gold star on its top. In 2018, it was a green fir tree with red baubles and lights.
The need for in-theatre social distancing put paid to Birmingham Royal Ballet’s planned full-scale Nutcracker at the Royal Albert Hall a while ago. This week’s move of London into Tier 3 meant the same fate befell the revised productions by English National Ballet at the Coliseum and The Royal Ballet at Covent Garden.
But venture into Mayfair and you will find a Nutcracker because Annabel’s has gone all festive ballet.
The club’s elegant three-storey Georgian facade has been given a theatrical makeover. Red drapes with gold detail adorn the top and sides. Down below, an arch of red and gold baubles surrounds the front door, with similar garlands hanging from the front railings and first-floor windows.
‘On stage’, between those windows, stand three giant Nutcrackers. Zoom in just a little more, and in those windows appear projections of two dancers from the Sophie Adams Ballet Company, which creates ballet performances for events, functions, PR launches and campaigns, and who are performing at the club throughout the festive season.
The Sugar Plum Fairy and Prince at Annabel’s
Listen carefully, and despite the noise of the traffic, you can even hear the strains of Tchaikovsky’s familiar music. While it might not fit the specially arranged, simple choreography perfectly, the whole does succeed in creating effect and a feel-good festive mood.
Not surprisingly, lots of passers-by stop to take a look and grab a few photos. The best vantage point is up against the railings inside the Berkeley Square gardens, by the way.
And why not, because the colourful scene is a real delight that lifts the spirits and brings a smile even on a dreary, grey London December day.