IF YOU think you know The Nutcracker, then think again.

Blanche McIntyre, one of theatre’s fastest rising directors, returns to The Nuffield to direct the Christmas show, the traditional tale – with a twist.

This story of the Nutcracker Prince, a family play with music far from the wellknown version told by the ballet, has much more to it than just sweets and sugar plum fairies.

It’s Christmas Eve and the mysterious Uncle Drosselmeier pays a visit. He gives Clara an enchanted Nutcracker as her present and she is sucked into a magical world, where toys come to life, gingerbread soldiers do battle with armies of mice, and Clara journeys far and wide in search of her elusive Prince.

This sparkling, funny and at times bloodthirsty re-telling, by much acclaimed double act Hattie Naylor and Paul Dodgson, marches its way through the classic Gothic story, creating a dark and beautiful production.

Following huge successes for Blanche McIntyre with The Seagull and The Birthday Party, The Nutcracker promises to be a feast of colour, song and fantasy.

The Nutcracker runs from December 5 to January 12, 2014.

Tickets are on sale now.