Cinderella gets her groove back

28 Aug 08 - The Australian Jewish News - Lexi Landesman

EVERYTHING about Cinderella on Ice is extravagant and sure to dazzle both adults and the little ones.

But what would you expect from one of the most expensive sets created for a theatre ice show?

It took 14 tonnes of ice – equivalent to the weight of three elephants, 2500 litres of antifreeze, and more than 140man-hours to build – and that’s just the stage. The scenery and props, designed by Eamon D’Arcy (designer of acclaimed Sydney 2000Olympics’ opening ceremony), took 6000 man hours to create and will need two 40-foot containers when they are shipped from country to country after their Australian season. The 77 lavish costumes, designed by renowned Russian costume designer Albina Gabeuva, took one year to design and create; 10 of the costumes cost individually more than $8000 to make. Add the lavish sets, costumes and design to the 23-strong cast of the Imperial Ice Stars (many of whom are former Olympians) performing
spectacular feats in one of the most popular children’s fairytales and you have the ingredients for a show that wows from its opening number to its end.

Cinderella on Ice, which opened last week at Sydney’s Theatre Royal and runs until September 14, did not disappoint. Artistic director Tony Mercer’s interpretation of the classic story of Cinderella was one with a twist: a humble chorus dancer is thrust into the spotlight as a prima ballerina and captivates the handsome lord mayor’s son, the most eligible bachelor in town, with her graceful performance. Despite rival attempts by her stepsisters to steal his heart, the kind watchmakers and gypsy fortune teller ensure that true love triumphs.

Performing on a 15x15-metre stage – radically smaller to the Imperial Ice Stars’ usual arena of 60x60 metres – there were many moments when daring moves provoked unison gasps from the audience. So challenging were the skating moves that many of them have never been attempted before – not even at the lastWinter Olympics.

There were magnificently choreographed scenes where the slipper (in this case, ice skate) was fitted for amatch, while the female dancers moved with only one ice skate on. Special effects added to the drama, with fire, flying and even an aerial rope routine.

The score, by Tim Duncan and Edward Barnwell, took nine months to compose and arrange. Despite the many hours that went into the recording of the soundtrack, it seemed to lack the dramatic tension needed for such a highenergy show. Perhaps this is where the show may have been helped by some voice-over narration, as with somuch happening on stage, it was easy
to get lost in the story and instead become transfixed solely on the magnificent iceskating feats and elaborate set changes.

Nonetheless, there is plenty in Cinderella on Ice to enchant the audiencewith themagic in love stories.With something for young and old, it is sure to sweep you off your feet.

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