The Imperial Ice Stars finished their Johannesburg run of Sleeping Beauty on Ice to standing ovations. Ninety dazzling minutes of explosive skating, packaged into a romantic fairy tale.
Directed by the master of ice ballet, Tony Mercer, and set to Tchaikovsky’s classical score, the reworked plot has evil magician Carabosse poisoning and kidnapping Sleeping Beauty. The ending is the expected happily ever after. The altered plot and lack of dialogue make it tricky to explain to a child, but plot is fairly incidental in the success of this ice spectacular.
All championship skaters, the cast is primarily Russian, though Cape Town local Fiona Kirk plays the Queen. The ethereal Olga Sharutenko as Princess Lilac steals the show. She is mesmerising, particularly iIn Act II where she floats in a series of daring lifts and when set down on the ice performs in ballet shoes.
Carabosse is suitably brooding and engaging. Portrayed by Jurijs Salmanovs, he simultaneously twirls two female skaters in an incredible finale lift. Comic relief is provided by palace staff buffoonery and by the King who ‘dances’, with a nudge and a wink, with two ‘left’ feet.
Fire, smoke, snow and aerial acrobatics add to the enchantment and elicited plenty of ooh’s and aah’s from the audience. The first act closed to thunderous applause as a line of fire blazed across centre stage dividing good and evil characters.
Leading Russian costume designer Svetlana Murzak has created glittering costumes, which move beautifully onstage without tangling the skaters. In fact the performance I attended was virtually flawless save one or two tiny wobbles. An impressive feat with a cast of up to 26 whirling round a small stage at high speed with bladed boots performing newly devised jumps and lifts.
This magical high-octane family entertainment will be triple-lutzing in Cape Town from 16 January to 9 February. View details / book here.