Cinderella on Ice marks the Imperial Ice Stars third production, following their successful and critically acclaimed offerings of Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. The 25 strong cast of Olympic, World, European and National champions are spellbinding in their execution of lifts, spins and acrobatics, all of them breathtaking and spectacular.

In this production chorus dancer Cinderella (danced by Olga Sharutenko) is the daughter of a village watchmaker. Cinderella’s evil stepmother is the ballet mistress of the theatre where her own daughters are ballerinas. Cinderella first attracts the admiration and attention of the Lord Mayor’s son (danced superbly by Andrei Penkine) at a performance of Swan Lake, in which she replaces her incapacitated stepsister as the prima. This rags-to-riches story continues as Cinderella attends the Lord Mayor’s ball, with the magical assistance of the Gypsy Fortune Teller. Then the classic story of Cinderella that we all know and love really shines, climaxing in the story’s traditional happy ending. The storytelling is occasionally lost in the production’s unique take of the fairy-tale, but there’s no camouflaging a good yarn.

One cannot deny Artistic Director and Choreographer Tony Mercer’s vision and creative talents or that of the skating stars themselves. However, several elements let the production down slightly, including several ill-fitting and synthetically unpleasing costumes and head-wear designed by Albina Gabueva and the pre-recorded soundtrack played throughout, ironically recorded and produced by sound company Ambience, something which could have been heightened by the presence of a live orchestra. The flawless and unquestionable skating prowess and visual magic effects are only part of the overall picture. With a few design tweaks here and there, this would be an absolutely top-notch spectacle.

The stage may be frozen, but the skating is sizzling hot and dazzles from start to finish with a truly sensational finale displaying some extremely impressive and dangerous party pieces, each one trying to out-do the other. Despite some minor reservations, Cinderella on Ice is a great evening’s entertainment for all the family, although with some pretty jaw-dropping and heart-stopping stunts, it’s not recommended to those of a nervous disposition.

- David Somerville