The Russian Ice Stars return to the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, once more to tell the much-loved fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast through a breathtaking display of ice dance, acrobatics and gymnastics.
This children’s classic promises to leave you dazzled by the cast’s unbelievable talent combined with the spectacular backdrop and music, creating fun for all the family.
The production begins with the story behind how a handsome prince came to be trapped inside the body of a beast, and it throws the audience into an eerie setting, putting them face-to-face with a mysterious hooded figure and keeping them gripped right from the start.
As the scenery changes to one of colour and vibrancy, we quickly come to learn about the beautiful Belle (Olga Pershankova) and her foolish but doting father (Mikhail Stifounine). The chemistry between them makes for the perfect father and daughter bond as they dance together, presenting an array of incredible lifts and spins.
As the plot unravels and Belle is summoned to the Beast’s castle, the audience is treated to a lavish dinner scene complete with entertainment of the grandest variety. We are treated to fire juggling, flying gymnastics, monocycling and more – all made that much more spectacular due to being performed while still dancing on ice.
Andrey Chuvilyaev and Valdis Mintals as the Beast and prince respectively show magnificent strength and stability through their fast-paced movements and ability to carry others upon a single hand while skating around the stage.
The supporting cast is so incredibly talented that it would be difficult and somewhat unfair to mention any names that particularly stand out. Each performer showcases their ability to perform such intricate moves all the while sticking to a set time and confined to such a small surface area.
At times, one cannot help but look away from fear of them falling off the stage from moving so quickly but it never happens, showing that their ability is clearly of the highest standard.
The storybook setting is simple yet effective while the bold and bright costumes combined with the lighting are truly mesmerising, pulling the audience into a world of magic and fantasy.
Ludmila Butskova’s choreography is genius, allowing each scene to (literally) glide into the next, never breaking the audience’s concentration with unnecessary reshuffling. The entire performance is brought together by composer Silvio Amato whose carefully selected music is aptly matched to each scene.
The Russian Ice Stars, made up of a range of ages and backgrounds come together to form a strong unit capable of the most phenomenal masterpieces. I cannot praise this outstanding production enough.