Reviews

Cinderella on Ice is fast paced magic

07 Dec 09 - Artslink, South Africa - Jennifer de Klerk

A stage turned into an ice rink, classical ballet spinning at breathtaking speed - Cinderella on Ice is mesmerising.

Not being tuned to the finer points of ballet or ice skating, I can only tell you what I know. This show had me transported to a world of movement, colour and music; it's a swirling, enchanting performance that definitely belongs in your Christmas stocking.

Besides the polished precision and sheer beauty of the piece, there is a fascinating retake on the Cinderella legend. Always, the clock striking 12 ended the magic, but here clocks, spinning hands, pocket watches become an integral part of the symbolism, augmented by two perfectly timed dances in which figures in clock costumes spin and twirl and march. This is the magic.

There is very little space, but the Imperial Ice Stars use every centimetre in dashing jumps and spins. When in doubt, go up and the girls seem to spend more time in the air than on the ice, lifted and passed in graceful poises and with split-second timing from dancer to dancer.

It is hardly a surprise when they take off and actually fly.

The costumes are sumptuous, the skirts swirl with colours, with the bitchy stepmom and sisters in elegant pant suits for contrast. Golden-haired Cinderella (Olga Sharutenko) brings a vulnerable charm to her fast-paced role, the sisters are cat-like and predatory as they pounce on the poor suitor and spin him into submission, the razor-slim and sexy stepmom (Olena Pyatash) exudes pride and arrogance with every flip of her fingers.

The men are equally daring, with Vadim Yarkov spot on as Cinderella's henpecked father, and our hero (Andrei Penkine) displaying a boyish exuberance which delights, especially when he cheekily takes off the Irish dance style - and, yes, it can be done on skates. Just.

Cinderella loses a slipper in the story; here she loses a skating boot, and, of course, all the girls have to follow. Not so easy to skate with one foot, but it lends to some excitingly different choreography.

You'll be breathless at the end of this two and a half hours of high-speed entertainment; breathless, but also deeply satisfied and filled with wonder.

Cinderella on Ice with the Imperial Ice Stars from Russia plays at the Teatro at Montecasino until January 10.

Jennifer de Klerk is editor of Artslink.co.za

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