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Lunchbox Theatrical Productions and Royal Albert Hall present


The Imperial Ice Stars in


Cinderella on Ice


Artistic director/choreographer Tony Mercer


Score composed by Tim A Duncan and Edward Barnwell


Performed live by a 20 piece Orchestra


Royal Albert Hall


Feb 25 – 28 2010









A review by Jay Richards for EXTRA! EXTRA!

The Imperial Ice Stars glided into town on Wednesday night in the London leg of the Cinderella on Ice world tour. The Royal Albert Hall, ice-covered for the second time in its history, played host to a daring and exhilarating exhibition of skating prowess.

Artistic director Tony Mercer has played it safe in terms of setting. Following on from the success of classics Beauty and the Beast and Swan Lake, here he translates the traditional fairy tale of Cinderella with the help of a company, who, it seems, rarely pauses for a breath. With its’ broad-brush romantic themes and Old World glamour, the story offers the perfect vehicle; frame the action in a Siberian ballet school, which is staging a performance of Swan Lake and you have all the raw materials of an evening of sheer indulgence.

Collectively, the Imperial Ice Stars boast a staggering haul of competition medals and sporting awards. But what matters most is how this talent is brought to bear on a collective artistic endeavour. Mercer, also choreographer, pushes his skaters to the limit and the range of lifts, spins and acrobatics is breathtaking. The vision’s cohesiveness is cemented with a score from Tim A Duncan and Edward James Barnwell, and lighting design from Bruno Hunt.

When there is so much to feast the eyes on, not least the ravishing costumes by Albina Gabueva, and so much movement, we need a little help to stay on track. Hunt provides an unblinking spotlight that picks out the main plot action so we rarely get lost. However, when the audience wasn’t being staggered by a jaw-dropping set piece (skating in the rain; a ring of fire) they could spot on the ice apron a myriad of little incidental interactions and gestures that betrayed a bloody-minded attention to detail.  

Evident too was a playfulness and wit; no more the glass slipper, Cinderella had lost her ice skating boot. The Mayor’s Son, performed by Andrey Penkin, fought off the attentions of Stepsisters Marija Balaba and Anna Lopatochkina in a desperate attempt to find the owner as she, with one foot bare,  floated miraculously around the apron, in a scene which typified a mesmerising performance by Olga Sharuntenko in the title role.

Vadim Yarkov as her father, the Watchmaker, gave perhaps the most charismatic performance. His poise and stature leant some backbone to his performance, while the chemistry with his wife, Cinderella’s Stepmother, (Olena Pyatash) was certain, we felt, to melt the ice. His assistants Ruslan Novoseltsev and Maxim Belyakov were always chipper and immensely watchable.

Only a power failure in the second act which cut the music for a few painful minutes threatened to turn a princess into a pumpkin. However, it was an added testament to the professionalism of the company that they continued a capella until after a brief recess, the sound was restored. Mercer should rest assured that the exemplary wire work that followed and a stunning Irish jig-style finale, a firework display of axels, toe-loops and spins, utterly erased the memory of any ghosts in the machine. His show, which brings together Olympic-standard discipline and Cirque du Soleil theatricals, is sure to strike gold. 


Royal Albert Hall
Kensington Gore


Tickets £13.18 - £52.50

Telephone 0845 401 5045



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