Hi energy spectacular

11 Sep 08 - Mosman Daily, Australia - Deb Solomon

PHEW. Just watching Cinderella On Ice is exhausting. How could such an energetic, colourful, narrative ballet with a cast of 23 Olympic, world, national and European championship skaters be anything else?

Russian company The Imperial Ice Stars are following up on the success of Sleeping Beauty on Ice, in 2004, and Swan Lake on Ice, in 2006. This take on the classic Cinderella story briefly incorporates Swan Lake before rejoining the traditional tale.

Other variations are that the fairy godmother is a brightly-clad fortune teller, and the glass slipper a skate. The female ice dancers even skate onelegged as, with a bare foot, they try their luck with the enchanted skate. Musically and dramatically, the pace picks up in the second half.

Vadim Yarkov, who plays Cinderella’s father, and Andrei Penkine, as the lord mayor’s son (the prince), are ridiculously athletic as they lift and twirl their partners single-handed high above their heads and boldly leap and twist across the stage.

Penkine’s facial expressions, as well as his movements, are passionate and dramatic; his skater version of cossack meets Riverdance is extraordinary. These male leads even impressed the two preadolescent boys who accompanied me, as did the two male ruffians whose spins were a treat.

Apart from these performers, there is underuse of characterisation. Olga Sharutenko (Cinderella)’s skating prowess was faultless, but her character a little lacklustre. The stepmother should have been more wicked, the stepsisters more ugly. But the stunning costumes and clever changing sets added life to the stage.

More sophisticated than Disney On Ice in the arena, it’s just-over-two-hour length should make you think twice about taking very young children.

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