The Imperial Ice Stars
reviewed by Deanna Blacher
Swan Lake on Ice, presented by The Imperial Ice Stars, prompted a rapturous, thoroughly deserved standing ovation on opening night at Burswood Theatre.
Not knowing what to expect – and a dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist balletomaine of many decades – it was with some trepidation that I took my seat in the sold out house. I need not have worried. Within minutes of curtain rise, I was transported – and for all the best reasons.
This was not a contemporary take on Swan Lake in the manner of, say, Matthew Bourne. Nor was it entirely faithful to the original, which would have been an impossibility given the very different techniques of classical ballet and ice skating
One was left in no doubt, though, that we were in the company of great artists and great skaters, whether in the leading roles or smaller parts. This production carried no passengers..
By and large, the overall story was adhered to, the story made perhaps more plausible in this version. The original 4 acts were played in two, the roles of black and white swans divided. – and von Rothbart acquired a host of attendants.
And the music for the famous, 32 fouette episode ended up as a London Palladium-type duet for Siegfried and Benno !
Highlights were the pas de deux of Odette and Siegfried, which was a very beautiful, part aerial ballet, part skating choreography. And the Pas de Quatre of the cygnets was brilliantly transposed for skaters.The finale of the first half was also a show stopper with von Rothbart left twirling in a ring of fire.
All principal roles were well cast with some fine mime from consummate artists.
Sets were reminiscent of Tolstoy’s Russia , the costumes and lighting absolutely impeccable.
There was the odd wobble in final poses and an occasional fluffed lift but these are small quibbles , and due, no doubt, to opening night nerves.
Despite being left with some doubts as to the viability of some of the alterations made to the story and the original Tchaikowsky music, this is, overall, a winner and should provide happy hours for everyone, young and old throughout the world. Bravo!