A winter wonderland

2009-12-28 11:29


Cinderella on Ice is all the things a holiday show should be –

magical, larger than life and full of feats that make you gasp.

With the stage of the Teatro in Montecasino transformed into an ice

rink, the 30-strong cast of skaters – who have between them won 250 competition

medals – pile incredible move upon incredible move to entertain an audience that

claps and exclaims throughout.

The man next to me kept muttering “wow, amazing” under his breath

and my husband, whose idea of good theatre is something short with no interval,

couldn’t wait for the second half to begin.

Andrei Penkine, who is also one of the show’s choreographers, is

the lead and he commands attention as he makes triple axles and speed skating in

a confined space seem effortless.

But just when you think only he can pull off

ice stunts that would make Winter Olympics judges throw up perfect 10s, the

entire ensemble joins in.

It seems that the guy in the back row of the chorus is just as able

at spinning his partner with one hand above his head while doing an Irish jig.

That’s what makes this company of performers so special.

The music for this show was specially composed and it is one of the

highlights. Because the timing has to be so meticulous the company cannot

perform with a live orchestra, the margin for error (on the part of the

musicians) is too great.

With such a small rink and so many dancers on stage at once it’s

imperative that everyone takes their cue or there could be a multi-dancer pile


The story is limited though director Tony Mercer has tweaked it to

make it more global. Gone is the monarchy, replaced with a mayor. The fairy

godmother is upgraded to a gypsy fortune teller. There is also a clever

interlude with the town clocks going haywire.

However, if you haven’t read the

programme prior to the show it’s possible you might find it difficult to


But the show is more about the skating than the story, which

everyone knows anyway.

Olga Sharutenko is Cinderella and she, too, is dazzling. Her

stepmother, Olena Pyatash, who is Penkine’s partner off the ice, is also a

superb skater who enjoys every minute of being the villain.

Costume designer Albina Gabueva’s garments play a large part in

signalling to the audience what roles the skaters are playing.

Cinderella sticks

to whites and baby blues, while her stepmother gets to wear scarlet and the

gypsy fortune teller glides over the ice festooned in scarves, gold chains and a

multi-coloured handkerchief skirt.

Every aspect of this two-hour show adds to the creation of a winter

wonderland that transports audiences to another world full of awesome feats and

skills made to look like sorcery by decades of practice.

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