Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Snow White On Ice The Russian Ice Stars Review

Snow White On Ice
The Russian Ice Stars
Congress Theatre Eastbourne
24-28 February 2010
(Show seen 24 Feb)

Cast: The Superb Russian Ice Stars

"I enjoyed it. I didn't understand half of it but I enjoyed it... the skating was brilliant" "Are those the gnomes... surely those aren't the gnomes?" "Snow White doesn't have Hula Hoops" "Are they chickens?" "This isn't the true Snow White Story" "Are they Russian because they are called The Russian Ice Stars? Do they all come from Russia?" "I can't follow the story!" "They haven't got the right music"

Snow White On Ice Programme good value for 2010 at £4 includes the traditional Snow White taleThose aren't my words but the words from a rather loud, irritating, old lady who was sitting behind me.

This is not the first time we have seen the marvellous Snow White On Ice performed by the Russian Ice Stars we saw the show a few years back again at the Congress and both times we have had a rather culturally ignorant, inconsiderate adult behind us.

But then again the lady this time was also moaning that somebody in her party had just had a bad fall in The Congress and that it would inconvenience the coach party on the way back because she had been taken to hospital. I'm sure the unfortunate lady didn't mean to fall down and lets hope she's well.

Well back to Snow White (and the 7 gnomes, apparently) on Ice.

Those of you who drop in to these reviews regularly (thank you) will be aware I reviewed Cirque De Glace last year - that was outstanding.

Snow White On Ice is equally outstanding in professional skating terms. What these professionals achieve by way of complex jumps, lifts, spins and tricks in such a small area is amazing.

Yes there was a fall and a couple of minor stumbles but if you take into account the thousands of different skating tricks that are performed in each show you are always going to get the odd small mishap. As true professionals do, the one female skater who did fall just got up and got on with the show as if nothing had happened. She was actually really unlucky as she had been sent off balance by the slightest clashing of skating boots with a fellow performer.

Let's return to my dear "friend" behind me and her constant grumbles.

"This isn't the true Snow White Story" Actually dear .... it is! What adults seem to expect is a copied adaptation of the Disney movie. The Russian Ice Stars presentation comes from the internationally accepted original version of the fairy tale. A summary can be found on Wikipedia. Alternatively if Mrs Moaner and the rest of her party had invested in just one programme between all of them they would have found the FULL clear story (and printed in ENGLISH too) for both acts over two pages inside.

To be fair though the original story varies VERY little from the Animated Disney favourite. What is lacking here is the ability of a small number of mature adults to interpret a good set, skilled choreography on ice, facial expression, costumes and body gestures and work out the story from putting all that together.

You may have gathered that there is no narration in this show whatsoever. This minority of adults cannot seem to understand a show without words leading them through the tale.

If anything I thought the huge number of children who went to this performance would be a little confused.

On the contrary childhood imagination seems to outweigh the ability of many an adult. No crying children just cheers, screams of delight and lots of laughter at the funny bits.

The 7 gnomes!! I was waiting for Mrs irritating to ask "who is dopey?" - I had an instant answer to that one but sadly that's the one comment she never made. Anyway the dwarfs (yes dwarfs love, not gnomes)  were correct both in number and costume. The reason she wasn't happy with her "gnomes" was probably because they ranged in height from about 4' 8" to 6'+. Yes I guess it's a little unusual for one of the dwarfs to be 2' taller than petite Snow White but I can imagine its a little difficult finding genuine 2' tall Russian dwarfs who all happen to be professional skaters. Again the kids didn't have a problem with the dwarfs' height so why some adults do is beyond me.

The official preview video, above, has not been "glammed up" by the production company Wild Rose Ltd in any way. It is the exact quality of presentation seen in the show. At the end of my review I have posted a genuine feedback video from people who have actually seen the show and appreciated this excellent production.

All the skaters are so talented it seems harsh to pick out just a few for mention but I will anyway.

Irina Tkachuk as Snow White has by far the most choreography to perform during the 2 long acts. She is perfect as the vulnerable Snow White and in addition to her formidable skating ability her ability to tall a story through facial expression is spot on. Prince Charming, Valdis Mintals is perfectly cast in the role and I think he went down well with the ladies (I think this is mentioned by somebody in the video below too).

Oh I almost forgot Queen Drina (Svetlana Kuprina - female) and her alter-ego Ugly Drina (John Hamer - obviously male) We had to laugh at one point when there was a quick switch by Queen and Ugly Drina at the stage's left wing. My "friend" behind who had been quiet for at least two minutes piped up with "She got changed quick". I don't know who should be more worried Svetlana or John that she hadn't noticed they were different sexes.

Seriously though both versions of The Queen were super throughout and eventually a lady sitting next to my noisy fellow audience member managed to shut her up when she said "and I don't like that evil witch" to which the response was "you're not meant to!" It's a true sign of a good baddie when at the end they are welcomed by a chorus of boos in addition to the applause.

I have therefore only mentioned 4 hugely talented people from an equally impressive cast of 21.
It is an excellent production which comes highly recommended to all ages - but please buy the programme for £4 - it is one of the best programmes I've seen in a long while and the true Snow White story is there for all to see.

5 out of 5 for Snow White On Ice Russian Ice Stars

Snow White On Ice The Russian Ice Stars performance dates 2010
Above these are the published dates after Eastbourne in 2010. Use the ticketmaster link (top right) to find additional performances
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