Cirque de Glace – Touring – At The Mayflower Southampton until 10th January

★★★★

Cirque de Glace was my first theatre trip of 2016 and what a way to start the year! When I was a child my grandmother around this time of year took me to see “Dancing on Ice type show” which invariably was on every year at The Brighton Centre. So the thought of a circus show on ice brought back memories of these annual childhood trips.

However I was not prepared for the stunning visual spectacle that came before my eyes! I’m afraid to say I know nothing of the technical side of skating or acrobatic circus performances but what I do know is that this an evening of sensory vision enjoyment. Cirque de Glace’s Evolution depicts the story of the creation of our planet. Evolution promised a thrilling, breathtaking experience combining music, lights, incredible costumes and jaw-dropping acrobatics and it delivered on every level. The music perfectly compliments each number, with clever lighting, and use of dry ice takes you on an atmospheric journey through time.

I particularly enjoyed From The Oceans Come Life, Urban Sprawl, Toxic, which I have to say if “The Prodigy” did ice skating this would be it, and the finale Festival of Life. In the show was some really incredible moments which were extremely dangerous but effortlessly executed by this immensely skilled collection of performers who are collectively called The Russian Ice Stars.

Unusually for me I have been left speechless by this show and so felt that the best thing to do which will give you a better feel of what lays in store for you is to give you a video clip from YouTube. So feast your eyes on this LINK and book your tickets to see Cirque de Glace.

Caroline Hanks-Farmer ★★★★

Russian Ice Stars transform Billingham Forum's stage into a frozen wonderland

Stars of the show Valdis Mintals and Katya Bakiy in action when the cast took time out to help local youngsters improve their skills.

Forget Frozen - Snow White is this year’s icy spectacular, and it’s here on Teesside.
The stage at Billingham Forum has been transformed into a frozen wonderland to tell the classic tale of a young innocent, an enchanted mirror, poison apple and a wicked step-mother.  Eighties TV-am star Rustie Lee provides some comic relief as Fairy News Reporter, appearing every now and again to banter with the crowd and narrate the story.  But this production isn’t about pantomime slapstick - far from it.

The Russian Ice Stars claim to contain more world, European and Olympic skaters than any other theatrical ice production and it definitely shows.  There’s aerial acrobatics, ballet, stunning choreography - and some genuinely heart-stopping ‘are they actually doing that?’ moments. Snow White, played by Valeriia Vorobeva, was faultless on the ice.  Champion figure-skater Valdis Mintals, who plays the handsome Prince Charming is “a bit of hot totty” according to Fairy - and amazing to watch.  Anton Smirnov, who plays Toppa the Crow, was my four-year-old’s favourite - closely followed by the alluringly evil Queen Driena, played by Svetlana Kuprina.

Kelley Price, gazettelive.co.uk

Chill out at the Broadway ~ New Delhi

A team of more than 20 Russian ice performers are in the city for a two month-long stint. They will present an astonishing display of moves on ice, coupled with grace and beauty, as they put on a performance of critically-acclaimed international Broadway productions, Cirque de Glace and Snow White On Ice. While the former is a tale of the creation of our planet, and follows man’s evolution and his journey to the limits of technology, the latter showcases one of the most-loved fairy-tales. Performers will present the original story of an enchanted mirror, a beautiful girl and Prince Charming through ballet, gymnastics and aerial aerobatics. “They have been practicing for over a week at the newly built theatre conclave, in Aamby Valley, one of the largest promenades in India, where all the shows will be staged,” says Guy Ongley, spokesperson, the Deplidge International Production House. The entire stage will be transformed into a frozen wonderland for the performances. Each performance, of about two hours, will showcase amazing choreography, breathtaking stunts, truly awe-inspiring sets along with some brilliant lighting and special effects. “India is renowned as the land of art and culture and we are extremely pleased to perform here. We are really looking forward to performing for an increasingly discerning audience. It is an honour to bring international quality performances to India,” adds Ongley.

Feb 2013, Arundhati Chatterjee, Hindustan Times

Bournemouth Pavilion is Sprinkled with Frosted Fairy Dust

Hold on to your seats and prepare to me thrilled, bedazzled and enchanted. The creme dela creme of ice skaters are here in Bournemouth town ready to amaze and excite you with their own spellbinding version of the J M Barrie classic; Peter Pan. With a host of skating accolades and physical expertise you can’t be anything but in awe of this genius cast and their magical display.
Even just the logistics are an amazing feat in itself whereby engineers have less than 24 hours to pump this regular theatre stage full of layers of anti-freeze to create a fully functional professional rink. We are transported ingeniously from the Pavilion podium to the ice platform of Never Land the magical mystery home of the boy who never grows up, Peter Pan. Exploding into the story with colour scenery, inspiring lighting techniques and a variety of costume changes whilst packing effortlessly sometimes up to 23 enthralling pro skaters in to the frosty theatre arena and with Peter Pan floating in to the storyline, away we go … taking Wendy, Michael and John Darling on his flying adventures too.

With a few imaginative spins on this traditional fairytale, Bob The Bucaneer aka local radio DJ Simon Clarke guides the audience through the story, in almost pantomime-style with his cheeky narrations via Jolly Roger FM. The other clever addition is Valdis Mintals’ portrayal of J M Barrie himself, through expressive dance skating he sees the vision of his fable come to life and show how his fictional characters inspired him throughout. Though fantastical choreography , ring of fire hoopla spinning, juggling fire torches, jaw-dropping spins holding a fellow skater overhead one-handed, daring acrobatics on high ropes, graceful sweeps, turns and twirls galore, it is set against some of the most stylish and beautifully atmospheric music too. Through escapades of trepidation the Darlings are enthralled, mystified as we are however they are captured by arch enemy Captain Hook, whose sole interest is to destroy Peter Pan. Thus providing web the par-typical sword fight against Peter Pan and Hook, on ice this is an electrifying routine bursting into an action-packed display of spins, jumps and twists. As ever, good overcomes bad with Tinkerbell’s fairy dust saving Never Land from imminent evil. Peter Pan on Ice is at the Bournemouth Pavilion until Sunday 12th January, don’t miss your chance to be charmed and sprinkled with fairy dust; coming out smiling a little more broadly.

Bournemouth.com

PETER PAN ON ICE A PAN-TASTIC SHOW

Marvel at the Russian Ice Stars in their adaption of J M Barrie’s much loved magical adventure, Peter Pan. This action packed story will take you to Neverland where you’ll meet pirates, Indians, Peter Pan and of course everyone’s favourite baddie, Captain Hook in their ice-skating adventure.

I went along with family and friends to enjoy the winter magic at the Bournemouth Pavilion. I must say that I was very impressed that they were able to create an ice-rink on the stage there. After catching up with some of the talented cast and crew before the performance, I discovered that this was their smallest ice stage that they had ever performed on. This made it more of a spectacle, being that they were still able to still do so many amazing spins and rope tricks that made up the show! The story was told through a pirate radio show, Jolly Roger Fm using the presenter Bob the Buccaneer to keep us up to date with what was happening in the story. This was funny at times although I couldn’t help but feel, if he had used more of a pirate voice then it would have fitted its purpose far better. This aside I really did thoroughly enjoy watching the story of the boy who never grew up unfold and come to life. I especially loved the way they incorporated Valdis Mintal to play J M Barrie. He dominated the ice and his graceful glides and spins ensured that I wouldn’t take my eyes off of him. He is a truly magnificent skater! It was really great to see the writer being brought into the story, and how they expressed his book coming to life as he wrote and was interwoven with all of the other characters.

Peter Pan on Ice not only boasts stunning choreographed fights scenes, but also a spinning fire hula hoopist , rope tricks that make you cling to the edge of your seat, music that soaks its way into your soul and an outstanding selection of talented skaters. Tiger Lilly was pretty and light on her feet, Tinkerbell was magical, her outfit was beautiful and she portrayed the deviant, jealous and lust filled emotions with ease, Peter Pan was cheeky, bouncy and exactly how you’d expect him to be – they couldn’t have chosen a better Peter, Michael and John – Wendy’s hyperactive and playful brothers were played to a tee and finally Captain Hook was evil with just the right amount of charm needed for such a role. Although Hook’s character did look a bit like Sylar from Heroes! Of course every fairy tale wouldn’t be the same without his happily ever after, and this one most definitely had that. I’d highly recommend getting some tickets for this show; it’s one that you’d be a fool to miss out on. Peter Pan on Ice is a marvellous magical ice fuelled adventure that will be touring the UK until May 2014.

thealtentertainer

Ice dancing has been The Russian Ice Stars’s business for close to 15 years.

The British company’s method is to take familiar narratives, usually fairytales, and adapt them into frozen-floored theatre. The strategy has proved popular with audiences of all ages…

The Russian Ice Stars claim to be having one of its best seasons with its current touring production of Peter Pan on Ice. As choreographed by Giuseppe Arena, to a smooth and sometimes sprightly pre-recorded score by fellow Italian Silvio Amato, this lively version of J. M. Barrie’s story of the boy who can fly is a fine example of its kind. The Russian Ice Stars have, perhaps a little shrewdly, followed the lead of the Johnny Depp film Finding Neverland and made Barrie the fulcrum of its staging.

Not that we’re offered any biographical background detailing his motives for creating Peter Pan. Rather, stationed at a desk to the side of the stage, the writer observes and occasionally enters into his own fictions. This simple yet clever device is lent an extra pinch of charm thanks to the casting of Valdis Mintals. Tall, dark and dapper, his mustachioed Barrie cuts a handsome figure.

Mintals, like a few onstage colleagues, is Estonian. They all go by the moniker the Russian Ice Stars, indicating the country of origin of most of these spirited former championship skaters. The company is also sprinkled with circus-trained performers, hence the extraneous but quick, diverting rope tricks featured in several scenes or the cheerful Indian maiden who swivels inside a Hula Hoop of fire.

Cheesiness is kept largely to a minimum in a pacey, good-looking production that touches upon all the right plot points… Viktoriya Shklover, a wonderfully tiny ball of energy... Dmitri Naumkin is sturdy and amiable... Aleksei Kozlov works hard as a scowling Hook... The one I believed in the most was Ekaterina Mintals-Bokiy’s long-limbed Tinkerbell, all flighty twirls and sweetly flaring temperament.

Arena can be an inventive choreographer, as shown by the deftly handled chase and capture of Peter’s shadow or a swimmingly good mermaid sextet...

Dramatically, the best sequence is the aftermath of the self-sacrificing Tink’s temporary death via an offstage bomb. As a giggling audience recovers from the surprise of the blast, Peter turns not just to us, but to Barrie, too, to help to revive her. Heightened by a short but smashing solo for Naumkin, the scene represents this efficient entertainment’s sole tug at the heartstrings.

Donald Hutchera, The Times

Barrie would love this Peter Pan

Having READ the play and the book, enjoyed biographical works on author J M Barrie, seen the play, written two Peter Pan ice show scripts, watched the film, attended the Holiday on Ice performance and previously seen a snippet of this version, there was no way I was going to miss this Russian Ice Stars’ Peter Pan.

It is a clever show, so beautifully choreographed and performed with such skill, clarity and discipline that it resembles ballet on ice. Italian born artistic director and choreographer Cavaliere Guiseppe Arena (the title Cavaliere is the Italian equivalent of a knighthood awarded to Guiseppe in 2004 for his services to dance) has for the last 15 years been involved in ice skating choreography and is regarded as one of the most innovative choreographers in the world. His work has included the opening of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.

Full marks to the company for giving J M Barrie his due. Skated immaculately by Valdis Mintals, James Barrie was seated at his writing desk at the corner of the stage, he left quietly at certain points, returning later, always hanging up his coat and hat before surveying the action and proceeding, once again, to write.

At times he interacted with the skaters, notably Mother (Svetlana Kuprina), Wendy (Viktoriya Shklover) and Tinkerbell (Ekaterina Mintals-Bokiy), and was then able to show his mastery of pairs skating. This cameo gave us an insight into the reality of the writing of fantasy – times when you sit and write; times when you carry on with other things but your characters seem to demonstrate a life beyond your imaginings and start acting of their own accord.

Other indicators that James Barrie has been taken into account were the dance interludes with the Mother; Barrie always yearned for the love of his own mother who had lost her eldest, and sadly favourite, son in a skating accident when he was young. The brother that never grew up was thought to have been immortalised by the author in Peter Pan.

At one point in the play Peter (Dmitri Naumkin), who was devastated by the death of Tinkerbell who had saved his life, wanted to re-write the story. He approached Barrie and took his pen to do so. This led to one of the most inspirational, emotional, moments.

The main frame of scenery was bookcases; a huge book at the rear opened and the double pages provided the beautiful backdrops to the scenes. The joy of the choreography was in the attention to the minutest detail. Whether characters were skating freely or in one spot, their movements were choreographed to connect visually with the whole scene. The cast was all adept at mime and characterization as well as being superb skaters. Occasionally some characters had to be still and they were so immobile that they became part of the scenery.

In one amazing scene Peter, Tinkerbell and Wendy were rescuing Tiger Lily (Claire Bournet) from Hook (Aleksei Kozlov), Smee (Sergei Smirnov) and Bosun (Oleg Tataurov), so there were seven characters on the ice. They each had their own choreography and they were sometimes interacting with one small group and sometimes another. It was an interplay of movement but always visually balanced. Of the choreographic variables, one often overlooked is height – in a lively pirate sequence we even had a skated wheel with height and by using hanging ropes as part of the ship and island scenery and a trampoline covered with pirate flag, we got some well characterized gymnastic work all interwoven into the tapestry on the ice dance.

If you go, watch out for the crocodile. Also note the small touches, Mother and Father dance (with just a couple of pairs lifts) as befits their characters.

The show, presented by The Russian Ice Stars, tours until the end of June. I saw it at the Cliffs Pavilion, Southend, and am aware I could have gone back every night for the rest of the stay and seen something I had missed before.

James Barrie once said, ‘… some plays peter out and some pan out …’, this one took us all the way to Neverland and back. Barrie would have loved it.

Janet West, ISkate

WON OVER!

And to think I had never been all that interested in ice shows. I believe I had seen only one other. I had always thought of them as a mish-mash variety show on skates - nothing special. And this one would be no more than an extension of that. Peter Pan on Ice. Know the story; they'll just be moving it along quicker. It took one Saturday afternoon in February at the Congress Theatre to change all that misconception.

Mesmerizing is what it was, from the moment the curtain rose to find the townspeople cavorting in and out and around London to set the scene and the times. One of these was the purported J M Barrie himself who zoomed to his writing desk downstage right at 100 miles an hour and came to a sudden stop. From there he would oversee proceedings as we watched him slowly constructing his most famous work. Nor did he prove himself a slouch in the pirouetting department, frequently taking our breath away as he did. To accomplish all that while immaculately dressed in grey tail coat and top hat showed the brilliance of VALDIS MINTALS who took the part.

The entrance of Peter in flight also had us gasping. One would have thought DMITRI NAUMKIN spent his life in the air. From then on he gave us the most magical interpretation of this familiar character. And not just with his skating. In common with the entire cast of some 50-strong, Dmitri executed a degree of expression and mime that endorsed Charlie Chaplin's regret at the loss of silent film with its universal language.

Talking of which, I had wondered all through the first half how they would get round the entreaty to the audience to bring Tinkerbell back to life. Even if Dmitri could speak English, no way could he shout: 'Do you believe in fairies?' us to respond by screaming our heads off yes. The ploy was that slow hand-clapping might do the trick. Dmitri tried it on us. It worked. J M Barrie carried the apparent lifeless form of OLGA PERSHANKOVA back on stage and the regimented hand-claps slowly woke her up. By then, I confess, I was in tears.

How did they do it on the Congress stage, hardly the proportions of Streatham Ice Rink? It was all a part of the expertise of Russian entertainment, to which we were treated in full. Here we had the circus skills, the gift of dance, with much practiced performing precision and all that the Slavonic artistes are noted for. Now that's how to 'do different cultures'. Have the real thing over here, undiluted, not the hotch-potch of multiculturalism, determined by the liberal elite melting potters of Camden Town. I'd lay a pound to a penny the allocation of local arts money in Russia is not our watered-down politically correct set-up. They would go for the full-monty of Russian culture, sticking to what they do best as a performing nation.

The Russian Ice Stars pack out the Congress every time they come, even at these prices. They're appearing just about everywhere between now and July. Next autumn they will be back, with 'Beauty and the Beast'. Save up your pennies, go see them, and be exhilarated.

For myself, I am converted. If I lose interest in all other forms of theatre: straight plays, musicals, ballet, opera, pantomime, the one genre of the performing arts that will sustain me is the one that - come to think of it - contains elements of all the above: The Ice Show.

Edward Thomas, Encore Magazine