The company of mainly Russian championship skaters known as the Imperial Ice Stars are getting the jump on the Christmas season with this, their fourth frozenfloored adaptation of a ballet warhorse. Previous productions of The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and Cinderella on ice have all been of a high standard. Their latest offering is a smooth, brightly designed and undemanding (except, that is, on its 26-strong cast) pleasure.
Tony Mercer's ice-dancing spectacular, with a guest performance from Keith Chegwin, opened at the London Palladium last week.
This attractive reworking of ballet’s Christmastime favourite is a lavish creation for ice dance.
It is the first time since John Curry’s pioneer attempt to create ice dance with artistic appeal as, if not more, important than technical skill that I have seen skating in a theatre rather than an arena setting. Since then we have had Torvil and Dean and the recent television success of Dancing on Ice building on that beginning to change audience expectations.
There is no doubt that December is almost on your doorstep when you get to see a Christmas classic like The Nutcracker. The London Palladium opens its doors for 14 shows only, allowing the Imperial Ice Stars to bring their enchanting new production to UK shores. It also marks the first time nearly 36 years that its stage was transformed into an ice rink. Originally performed as a ballet production, to Tchaikovsky's most famous score, it was interesting to see how this timeless story was transformed and opened to a wider audience by being performed on ice.
The Nutcracker is such a classic that no matter what guise it comes in, any iteration of it is surely almost guaranteed to be a success. And so it proves with The Imperial Ice Stars’ production, which touts the inclusion of Keith Chegwin and Olga Shuratenko as guest stars. But make no mistake, the troupe of dancers, with 250 championship and Olympic medals among them, are the real stars here.
Tickets are currently available for Sleeping Beauty on Ice