Disney on Ice
Crisply produced and marketed to the utmost degree, Disney on Ice offers a generous slice of spectacle to adults and children alike. For all the heavy merchandising that accompanies this Feld Entertainment production (programmes alone are £7) the performances are unstinting and the music, lights, settings and sheer fun combine in an enjoyable fusion of taped narrative and actual figureskating.
The performance area is a big rectangle used to the full, the settings arriving from overhead, backstage and the sidelines, and although the cast are playing to soundtracks and often in overwhelming disguise they still achieve an expressive faithfulness to the characters of each storyline.
The main theme is that of Kipling's Jungle Book; Emrah Polatoglu's Mowgli is a marvel of youthful speed, triple jumps and double axels, and as one story merges into another there is more brilliance from Stephane Morel as Tarzan, Robin Johnstone as Jane, Besa Tsintsadze as a scorching Young Simba and especially Mark Naylor and Lesley Rogers as lion and lioness Simba and Nala.
These leading skaters are national and international championship winners, but, as at least half the audience is sitting on someone else's lap, athleticism and balletic symmetry may not seem quite as important as the really big numbers - the elephants' dawn patrol, for example, which arrives to gasps of amazed laughter, or the bear Baloo.
Hidden by the brilliant costumes of Frank Krenz and working to the choreography of co-director Barry Lather, the cast marshalled by director Jerry Bilik (who is also responsible for the story and music adaptation) ensures by formation skating flowing through the world of fantasy that audiences of all ages will spend the evening smiling.
Disney on Ice finishes at the Green Glens Arena tonight April 1st and runs at the Point Theatre, Dublin, from April 11th to 22nd