Venue: The Lowry
Where: Salford

The word spectacular sums up the combination of Ice-skating, circus skills, pyrotechnics and lighting effects, illustrating the history of the earth in Cirque de Glace. A disembodied voice, belonging to Phil Waters, takes us poetically through the history of time starting with the big bang.

We travel though butterfly filled forests with performers flying above in trapezes including Svetlana Murzak, a cloud swing gymnast who won the Guiness World Record for the most cloud swing rotations. Then it’s on to man’s greatest invention – the wheel. Hula hoop supremo, Yulia Kovina performs with a ring of fire, and Svetlana Golubeva works miracles with a German wheel.

The stage is ablaze at the end of the first half. However do they make fire (another human discovery) without injuring themselves?

After the interval we fast forward to the moon landing and businessmen travelling on the tube interpreted by Cavalieri Giuseppe Arena’s imaginative choreography. Arena was responsible for the opening ceremony in the 2006 Turin winter Olympics.

All of these stunning feats are played out to a soundtrack. Percussionist Joe Blanks’ on stage drumming beats with the rhythm of your heart although Stu Shaw’s electronic music, at first a novelty, becomes repetitive towards the end. Likewise,
Tim Routledge’s lighting design, imaginative and spectacular though it is, spasmodically shines tortuously into your eyes.

As good as they are, the special effects and video backdrops also at times tend to distract the audience from the leaps and spins of the world class Russian Ice Stars.

Nevertheless, Cirque de Glace remains an amazing show and a real feast for the eyes.

- Julia Taylor