The name may sound like a cocktail on the specials list in happy hour, but Peter Pan on Ice, an adaptation of J M Barrie’s classic tale brought to us by the Russian Ice Stars, with an original sweeping score and the story danced out to it almost wordlessly, is in fact much more lasting fun and a great way to brighten up a dark January evening (just so long as you wear something warm - the New Theatre has been turned into a giant freezer!)
The backdrop for the play was a giant book, whose double page spreads created the different scenes: the pirate ship, or the forest, or the Darlings’ nursery. This made for really slick scene changes, where a waistcoated JM Barrie simply turned the pages, and the characters were so colourful that they could very believably have sprung right out of its illustrations.
All the cast were riveting to watch and had different talents: on the pirate ship two of the crew swung high off ropes that dangled like rigging; in the forest encampment an Indian girl span a fiery hula hoop (and later repeated with what looked like about thirty normal ones!) and the crocodile could flip onto his hands and back onto his feet without slipping on the ice! JM Barrie deserves special mention for being able to spin VERY fast (my physicist companion estimated four or five times per second) and still managing to pull off the polite, slightly starched mannerisms that you associate with a well-to-do gentleman of the early 20th century.
The production combined beautiful technical excellence in the skating and acrobatics with a larger than life style of acting that slightly reminded me of pantomime. It was this air of fun that made it more than a showpiece for the skating – it looked like the performers were enjoying the story as much as I did. Watch out for the cheeky crocodile, the wry smirks of JM Barrie as he decides what will happen next in the story and the strangely endearing Captain Hook: just some of the highlights! If you’re lucky enough to get a ticket you can also look forward to a lively curtain call and cannon effects at the end!
Emma Pearson (DI Staff), 07/01/11
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