Wednesday, 30 December 2015

The Nutcracker on Ice

The Nutcracker on Ice, Imperial Ice Stars, Royal Albert Hall - reviewed on 29th December

When the Imperial Ice Stars performed The Nutcracker on Ice in 2013, they were hampered by the small size of the London Palladium stage. Now at the much larger Royal Albert Hall, I expected bigger and better tricks, but whilst Tony Mercer's choreography has several brilliant moments, much of it fails to impress.

Movements seem to bear little connection with the music, performers are out of time with each other, and - with the notable exception of Nutcracker Prince Vladislav Lysoi - there's a lack of artistry and effective conveyance of character. Tchaikovsky's gorgeous score is also completely butchered, with the ordering completely altered and various segments repeated to excess.

That said, there is plenty to enjoy in The Nutcracker on Ice's duets and solos, with tricks including lifts, jumps and numerous pirouettes. The lyrical duet between Mariia Vygaloca and Lysoi at the end of Act I is really beautiful, Diana Malygina and Mariya Kayl wow with their Arabian aerial tricks performed 10 metres off the ground.

I'd prefer a more artistic and musical Nutcracker (such as Peter Wright's ballet at the Royal Opera House) but there's still a touch of magic and plenty of festive spirit in the Imperial Ice Stars' version. Yesterday evening's audience even gave the production a standing ovation.

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