Glitzy Disney moneymaker will still enchant

Johannesburg - Northriding can be quite a depressing neck of the woods. Don't get me wrong, I used to live there, but with all that yellow winter grass, the concrete parking lots, and people picking up drugs at Banbury Cross in front of World Sports Betting, there's a certain kind of ugly mediocrity that's very particular to that part of Randburg.

Which is why it's always rather upsetting to have to go to the Ticketpro Dome. In fact, most big concert venues in Johannesburg are horrible places -- the type that give you an existential crisis before you've even gone through the door.

I mulled on this as I waited for a friend to bring her little niece and nephew for a new edition of mega show Disney on Ice.

Little girls in all iterations of princess gear -- Frozen, Queen Elsa, Cinderella -- filed into the Dome as adults spent R100 each on popcorn or candyfloss. Yup, you read that right -- a Disney on Ice popcorn is R100, as is the candyfloss. Want a slushy in a Olaf cup? That'll be R160, please. A plastic light-up wand? R300. "Tink wings"? R250.

This isn't just any merchandise after all, this is DISNEY merchandise -- even the most mundane of objects sends out an intoxicating pull that few can resist.

It was almost majestic seeing parents' money fly out their wallets.

The show itself was as high-end as you can expect from a megalithic company like Disney -- every sequin on every costume carefully stitched, every princess wig braided and placed just so, every song carefully selected to please the crowd the most.

And the skates! Cinderella’s were covered in silver glitter, Jasmine’s pointed and curled at the front, and Tinkerbell’s topped with pom-poms.

And okay, Jasmine and Aladdin were white, but at least Tiana was black.

The actors are all brilliant skaters and they lip-sync along to the show’s backtrack – a series of snippets and songs from the most popular films.

The Little Mermaid has a particularly beautiful sequence, with machines spitting bubbles out the ceiling, and octopuses, starfish and seahorses twirling over the ice.

Of course, the show’s raison d’être was the Frozen sequence, which came right at the end.

In the bleachers, two-year-olds in Elsa costumes belted out every word of Let it Go while snow machines sprayed white flakes on to the ice.

When it was all done, we queued outside with our kid charges so they could take a picture at the photo booth with a cardboard cutout of Elsa and Anna.

I didn’t even think about the R210 that flew out my wallet, kind of like a magic carpet.

Disney on Ice: Dream Big 
Ticketpro Dome, Northriding
R101 to R480 at
Until July 1
4 stars

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