The Nutcracker on Ice (5 Stars)

Lunchbox Theatrical Productions and Tony Mercer present
THE IMPERIAL ICE STARS

THE NUTCRACKER ON ICE

Winter Palace Theatre, Winter Wonderland
18th Nov 2016 to 2nd Jan 2017

About the show: For their latest production, The Nutcracker on Ice, acclaimed Artistic Director Tony Mercer – the world’s leading creator of contemporary theatre-on-ice – has once again teamed with four-time figure skating World Champion and dual Olympic gold medallist Evgeny Platov, and dual World Champion Maxim Staviski to create choreography that further raises the bar, with ever more breathtaking high-speed leaps and throws, and awe-inspiring acrobatics, coupled with the most graceful and sublime ice dancing.

To Tchaikovsky’s most famous score, the 26-strong cast of Olympic, World, European and National Championship skaters will astound and mesmerise audiences with their adrenaline-rich, dramatic performance, in the intimate setting of a frozen theatre stage.

Set in early 1900s St Petersburg, The Nutcracker on Ice follows the classic Russian tale of Marie, the little girl whose love brings to life her cherished Nutcracker doll – a magical Christmas gift from her mysterious godfather – leading to adventures with the Mouse King, the enchanted Prince, and the Sugar Plum Fairy. 

Well this show has EVERYTHING you could possibly imagine! Snow, Fire, UV, Video walls, aerial acts, acrobatics, dance, magical illusions, costumes and ice skating all set to one of the greatest all time muscial scores, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. With the grace and elegance surpassing any expectation this ice show feels more like a classical ballet than a theme park ice show. The chorus have beautiful poise, leg extensions, carriage and style – you quickly forget they’re on skates – until they spin, jump, accelerate in seconds, lift the girls overhead and stop dead on a button. Their entire bodies invested in expressing the story so beautifully.

The Nutcracker on Ice - The Imperial Ice Stars - Royal Albert Hall - 28th December 2015

5 minutes into the show and it’s clear that there isn’t going to be any script, singing or dialogue. No narrator to help the story along. Surrounded by 100’s of children at 2 O’Clock on a Saturday afternoon and I’m wondering when the children are going to start running around, kicking off and interrupting the show. Well, I was shocked to see that the children were mesmerised! Totally and utterly engaged in what felt like a cultural experience. Watching the beautiful Princesses and handsome Princes, enjoying the Christmas Toys coming to life and dancing together, seeing good triumph over evil when King Rat and his followers go into battle with the Toy Soldiers. The hour flew past without a squeak from any of the children!

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The Costumes are lovely. Each musical scene has a colour pallette integrating the ensemble costumes to the video wall. The Fire number is exciting with Reds, Yellows and Gold costumes. The White Snow Dresses which light up are pretty, and the Green costumes – well Christmas came early today! These snug costumes were such a delight! With 6 performances today you wonder how the skaters have time to eat, well these costumes would have revealed any over-packed lunchbox! The cast are all so talented, switching easily between the pure grace and flow of spiral arabesques to partner work with big thrown doubles, overhead one-handed fast spins, and shadow pair work that has other skaters passing within a hair-breadth of disaster. This troupe takes the phrase “living life on a knife- edge” quite literally!

The Nutcracker on Ice - The Imperial Ice Stars - Royal Albert Hall - 28th December 2015

The aerialist needs a special mention. She was superb! Her landings back onto the ice smoothly transitioning into beautiful skating. All of this building up to a stunning finale that got the audience clapping and whooping!
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The music is of course very rousing and the Choreography perfectly matches.
There’s so much packed into this 60 minute performance!
Great Family entertainment for everyone!

The Nutcracker on Ice - The Imperial Ice Stars - Royal Albert Hall - 28th December 2015

This is the 1st time there’s been a Winter Palace Theatre at Winter Wonderland. The Imperial Ice Stars usually perform a shorter season at the Royal Albert Hall. I hope they stay at Winter Wonderland so more people through the entire holiday season have a chance to see this wonderul show!

And here are the standout principal performers:

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VLADISLAV LYSOI: PRINCE

Vladislav was born in 1996 in Dnepropetrovsk in the Ukraine, where he began his sports career at the age of

four. Until the age of 11 Vladislav was a single figure skater, before moving into pairs skating. At 16 he started training in Russia with renowned coach Nina Moser, under the supervision of Vladislav Zhavnirskiy. Now he works with Oleg Vasiliev. Vladislav is a two-time Champion of the Ukraine, a participant of the Winter Junior

Olympics, winner of the Championship of Moscow, a 4th place participant at the Championship of Russia, a member of the Junior Grand Prix, and a participant at five Russian Cup championships. Vladislav has a Master of Sports degree from the Ukraine in pairs skating, and is currently continuing his sports career studying for his Master of Sports of Russia in pairs skating.

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MARIIA VYGALOVA:MARIE

Mariia was born in Perm, Russia in 1999. At the age of five she started figure skating, moving on to pairs skating when she was nine. With skating partner Egor Zakroev she was the 2014 Junior World Cup bronze medallist, and at the Junior Grand Prix Finals she won silver in 2013 and bronze in 2012. She is also a three-time gold medallist at Junior Grand Prix – in Croatia, Estonia and Slovakia. In 2013 she worked in Korea performing in ice shows. During this time she graduated from music school in Perm. Her hobbies include painting, cooking and shopping.

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MIKHAIL KIRSANOV: MOUSE KING

Mikhail was born in Moscow in 1996. He started practicing figure skating at the age of seven, and was a member of children’s theatre-on-ice group Aleko, participating in many shows and tours during his childhood. He has won first place numerous times in ice ballet at festivals and competitions in Moscow. In 2013, at the Nations Cup in Spain as a member of the theatre-on-ice group he won first place in the junior category. Mikhail’s younger brother (aged 5) also trains with Aleko, and Mikhail hopes that he will repeat his success.

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OLGA SADOVSKAIA: Aerialist

Olga was born in Vladivostok in 1997 and a year later her family moved to St Petersburg. She started skating at the age of three, and has a Master of Sport in single skating.  From 2010-2015 Olga performed with St Petersburg State Theatre-on-Ice.  She is currently studying to become a director of mass performances at live events.  While she was performing in Ice Vision many of her ideas for mass and solo acts were included in the Dracula on Ice production.  In addition to creating a new version of Dracula on Ice, Olga has created Alice in Wonderland and Unona and Avos.  Her career highlights so far have been creating the opening of the 2016 Hockey World Championships in St Petersburg, and joining The Imperial Ice Stars.  She would like to grow her talents in figure skating and in aerial gymnastics on the hoop

Review by Richard Lambert 26/11/16

Ticket link: Click here

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