Swan Lake on Ice - Wycombe Swan

13 Oct 10 - Buck Free Press - Sandra Carter

THRILLS, excitement, bodies hurled and twirled, gymnastic feats, a ring of fire – it’s not what usually features in Swan Lake the ballet.

But put it on ice and the well loved romantic tale takes on a whole new dimension.

Swan Lake On Ice ended with a standing ovation at opening night at the Wycombe Swan on Tuesday, and no wonder – this was a truly exciting show. Tchaikovsky’s wonderful music stays the same, but the storyline is pursued with huge energy by the Imperial Ice Stars, a cast of 26 stunningly clever ice skaters.

Most come from the former USSR and all are world, European or national champions and my, doesn’t that show. Imagine all the clever stunts that you might see at a figure skating championship all brought together to portray the drama of the lovelife of the prince and the swan maiden.

The choreography by Tony Mercer is fast-paced and exciting throughout, moving swiftly from smooth balletic to gymnastic, with touches of humour and high drama interspersed with delightfully varied dance.

He says his skaters have developed elements never seen in the world of figure skating before, and there were certainly gasps from the audience throughout the show at their seemingly impossible feats.

Mercer manages to inject fresh visual appeal throughout the show, from dancers flying through the air to a duel on ice, to a ring of fire on stage, to thunder, lightning and snow. The backdrops of a forest winter wonderland and the palace ballroom are stunning.

The storyline has a few surprises for aficionados of the traditional ballet. Mercer researched the original development of the work by Tchaikovsky and his colleagues, and has returned to some of their early plans for the story. Unmissable.

Swan Lake On Ice, Wycombe Swan, until Saturday October 16 at 7.30pm.
Showings on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm.
Box office 01494 512000.

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