Reviews

Cool cast weave their magic for capital show

02 Mar 05 - Edinburgh Evening News - Martin Lenon

Get your skates on to catch world's finest in fairytale story, pure entertainment, thrills and romance, the Festival theatre had it all last night as the Imperial Ice Stars opened their week-long run in the capital. Twenty-three of the finest skaters in the world gathered together under the auspices of director Tony Mercer to enthral, amuse and occasionally terrify the audience.

There are several variations on the Sleeping Beauty story, depending on who’s telling it, and in this version, all but one of the kingdom’s fairies are invited to become godmothers to the newly born Princess Aurora.

Angered by her omission from the celebration, Carabosse, the black fairy, curses Aurora to one day prick her finger on a needle and die. On her 20th birthday, Carabosse, dressed as an old woman, gives Aurora a present, which is really a needle in disguise.

The lilac fairy saves the day, by changing the curse so that the Princess simply sleeps, and can only be woken by the kiss of a handsome prince.

With such a world class cast, high quality was to be expected and, one or two first night gremlins aside, it was delivered. There were a few Cirque Du Soleil-style stunts involved - Yulia Krasinskaia’s elegant, yet dangerous looking stilt-skating had the audience on the edge of their seats as she spun precariously at the edge of the stage. But it was Anton Klykov’s mid-skating somersaults which drew the most ooh’s, ahh’s and spontaneous applause from the audience.

Klykov, as Catalabutte, the king’s secretary was on the ice for almost the entire show, either making things happen or just being there or clowning around in the background. Whether he stole the show or not is up for debate, but unquestionably he is a virtuoso skater, as he displayed with innumerable leaps, on-the-spot spins and the ability to just skate rings around most of the cast.

Maria Borovikova, as Carabosse, was the other main contender for show-stealer, and if she won that contest, it was purely on the boo and hiss-ability of her character. She trolled around the ice with such venom and melodramatic menace, that she may have become a new benchmark in cartoon villainy.

Her skating and aerial feats, too, put her in the top three of the show alongside Klykov and German championship skater, Mandy Woetzel as Princess Aurora. Woetzel simply glided around the ice with delicacyand all the grace of a princess.

Her prince, played stoically by Vadim Yarkov gave his arms as much of a workout as his skates, as his part called for him to lift and carry Aurora and the lilac fairy (Olga Sharoutenko) for most of the second half.

The sets, by Eamon D’Arcy, were fairly simple in design, but beautifully painted.

The costumes though, were lavish and opulent - in particular Carabosse’s multi-layed black ensemble, and the Lilac Fairy’s chiffon assemblage of purples. The prince’s hunting party, however, had the oddest costumes of the night, with Austrian, Scottish and Native American Indian influences apparent.

While some might have found the occasional narrative interludes, read crisply by Bill Kerr, a little intrusive, younger audience members will certainly find them helpful. As it was, Kerr’s voice had a Werthers quality to it, creating a delightful storytelling atmosphere for the production.

As an example of the magic that theatre can weave, there’s no other show like it in town.

Bookmark and Share

Back |  | 

 

Upcoming show dates

 Peter Pan on Ice