Flashy moves and colourful costumes aside, much of the beauty is lost on younger children
It’s no easy feat to adapt a fairy tale and not have it compared to Walt Disney’s take on it (because just about every fairy tale has been Disney-ficated), but The Imperial Ice Stars blow it out of the frozen water… so to speak.
Set to the unforgettable and fantasy inducing score of Pyotr Tchaikovsky, The Imperial Ice Stars’ take on Charles Perrault’s classic tale Sleeping Beauty not only takes some liberties with the source material but also adds some much needed flare and humour making the performance visually interesting but also engaging.
Of highlight, would be the made-for-performance villain and his henchmen. If living up to Disney’s rendition of anything fairy tale was already considered tough, filling in the surely stilettoed boots of the iconic Maleficent can not be anything less than daunting. Nevertheless, the antagonist (let’s call him Male-efficient, for he truly is in the role), charmingly glides from scene to scene accompanied by his crew pausing only to add the brilliant theatrics that has come to be expected of The Imperial Ice Stars.
Given the troupes’ reputation for utilising, if not outright creating, some of the most physically demanding, choreographically challenging and visually amazing moves, it’s easy to sometimes wonder if you were perhaps witnessing the artistes behind Cirque du Soleil having a go at their own take of Sleeping Beauty on Ice. With a mix of exhilarating skate-work, classical ballet, and intricately executed flight work the execution of the performance by the talent lives up to the choreography of The Imperial Ice Stars‘ founder, the award-winning Tony Mercer.
While the performers’ sheer talent is never eclipsed, the sets and designs command the stage in their own right, breathtakingly brilliant and hauntingly cinematic. With multiple set changes involving beautifully detailed backdrops and complementary pieces as well as a startling use of fire, the simple stage was oft mistaken for a live soundstage.
More amazing would be the 34-hour ingeniously planned process of building a skating rink within the confines of the stage–a process that began as early as Monday morning and will be continuously monitored till the last of the performances this week.