19 Jan 12 - - Rory Berry

Pieter Toerien has done it again. He has brought the Imperial Ice Stars to The Artscape Opera House and it is a show that will sell out and get standing ovations, like the one from last night, regularly.

This production is difficult to describe in a few words, but to sum it up in one word I would say Majestic. It’s made up of part Ballet, Ice Skating, Magic, Gymnastics,  Aerial Acrobatics and part Awesome. From the ice-skating, which is spellbinding, to the Aerial acrobatics, which will steal your breath away, it draws your attention and focus completely.

The costumes are wonderful and they provide a unique value add in that the material used for them provides a visual texture which might be missed by some, but which myself and my guest on the evening really enjoyed.

In case you know nothing about the story of the Nutcracker, it’s a tale about a young girl whose love frees her enchanted Nutcracker Prince and their adventures together (which might or might not have all been a dream, I leave that to you to decide).

The Imperial Ice Stars are very aptly named because each and every one of them is spectacular in their own right when skating, which at times had the entire audience gasping with anticipation and exclaiming with joy when they were executed with ease. The stunts and acrobatics were enchanting and the performers juggling and twirling fire were a big treat for me!

The entire cast is spectacular, but I have to mention a few. Bogdan Berezenko and Anastasia Ignatyeva were wonderful to watch. Their chemistry was subtle, yet electric and made you want to watch them as your eyes were drawn to their presence on stage. I loved the Mouse King (Jurijs Salmanovs) and Queen (Iuliia Odintova) who were the right blend of scary and cheeky. Olena Pyatash and Andrey Penkin were very easy to watch with Andrey’s playful character shining through his Skating.

Some interesting things to note, firstly despite it being an small ice rink, inside the theatre it was not very cold, which pleasantly surprised me. Secondly, the speed that those performers get up to in spite of the relatively small sized ink they use, is incredible and at times a bit scary to watch as you get concerned about their safety.

If I had any negatives from the production they were not on the stage – I felt the Audience around me was talking far too much. People have paid good money to watch a spectacular show so others don’t need to have conversations during the show. Save that for before, after or during interval. It really can ruin another patrons experience to have the constant nattering in their ears.

In summary, the show is Majestic and if you miss this you will really have lost an opportunity to see some spectacularly gifted performers at the very top of their game. As I said earlier, it will sell out. Book your tickets soon.

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