Following Wednesday’s Ice Skating Adventure, we headed back down to Bournemouth last night to see the Russian Ice Stars’ production of Snow White.
To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what to expect – panto or ballet? For children or not?
So I went with the 8yr old daughter and Jolly the 12yr old son, and figured at least one of us would enjoy it.
At the start of the performance we were cheerily greeted by the narrator; a stripily clad Rustie Lee fairy, reporting ‘live from Flutter FM’, complete with sparkling deely-boppers. The children in the audience waved and called hello, and my mind understood that we were ready for a panto.
But then she left the stage, the orchestral music began to swirl, and the King & Queen danced across the ice as the Queen died.
Wow – what an opening. We were transfixed – this was no panto, this was ballet on ice.
And it was beautiful.
The show continued through the traditional story of Snow White, telling the tale with stunningly choreographed skating, mixed with aerial acrobatics that caused waves of gasps and oohs from the audience.
The set designs were beautiful – the backdrops perfectly painted to set the scene of the traditional tale, immersing us in a fairytale world with simple but clever lighting and fabulous costumes.
The comedy double act of the ducks (don’t underestimate their skill in appearing awkward and amusing on ice), the juggling and the fabulous woodsmen set pieces all kept us transfixed and wide-eyed throughout. The skating by the entire company was exceptional throughout, Snow White (Jasmine Costa?) was beautifully fragile and sweetly graceful, the wicked stepmother (Natalia Mintels) properly strong and menacing and Prince Charming (Valdis Mintals) suitably tall and handsome. It really is a magical show.
For me, the one thing that jarred was the regular appearance of Rustie Lee as the narrator – she would be fabulous in a full on panto, but having her garish and silly character randomly appearing in such a stylish and elegant production really didn’t fit. A narrator was clearly needed for the youngest members of the audience – the 8yr old needed me whispering in her ear occasionally to explain what was happening – but a more theatrical straight actor in keeping with the production would have felt far less awkward.
Having said that, she was the 8yr old’s favourite part, and her interview with the ducks was contagious, having the entire audience giggling helplessly.
Fairy Narrator aside, we loved every single second of the show. The graceful and poised skating was electric to watch, and I’m sure I had a vacant “oooh” of wonder on my face for most of the evening. Every scene was perfectly set, every costume a joy to watch, every character flawless in its choreography.
Snow White being poisoned and laid on her bier brought a lump to my throat, and Prince Charming’s arrival genuinely had the 8yr old craning forward in frustrated anticipation.
It was vividly magical, and genuinely took my breath away.
Snow White on Ice is on at the Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre tonight (23rd) at 7.30pm, tomorrow (Saturday) at 2.30 and 7.30pm and Sunday at 2.30p.m. For more information or to book tickets, telephone BHLive on 0844 576 3000
If you’re not in Dorset, do check the Russian Ice Stars home page for the rest of the tour dates – do try and see it, you won’t be disappointed.