If My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding produced a Dancing on Ice themed pantomime, then this is what it would look like. As the stars of Disney took to the ice in the usual up-tempo, high-energy fairytale offering, gleeful young faces looked on in sheer delight with hopeful expectations.
But for the most part the production is disappointing, limping along for the first half, as our favourite characters are introduced in a chaotic, disjointed fashion and familiar scenes are re-enacted without context.
The narrative is intended to interweave messages of wishes and dreams versus desires and needs — what happens when our needs overrule our desires and what happens when we dare to dream — and to culminate in a happy ever after at the grand finale ball. But the result is a clumsy medley of fractured tales that fail to compel the audience to remain in their seats and the continual flow of human traffic destroyed the possibility of a magical atmosphere.
As the second act opens to a deftly choreographed performance by an ensemble cast of impressive ice dancers, the dazzling spectacle that Dare to Dream has promised finally begins to deliver. Rapunzel and Flynn Rider are mesmerizing in their show-stopping duet that sees them fly above the ice in a tangle of golden ribbons, and the glittering finale features a plethora of distinguished guests.
Of course, there is clapping and waving a-plenty and in the midst of the flashing trinkets and Disney memorabilia the kids can have a ball. But I can't help but remember that once upon a time when the magic of fairytales and sing-along classics were fondly imprinted in our hearts and imaginations, there wasn't an ice-skate or an arena in sight.
- Sarah Bloomer