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Sleeping Beauty on Ice (Birmingham)

Plenty of beauty, lots of ice - and definitely no sleeping! Sleeping Beauty on Ice by The Imperial Ice Stars plays at Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre for one week only.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Sleeping Beauty on Ice

Plenty of beauty, lots of ice - and definitely no sleeping! From the dark and stormy opening to the romantic finale, this is a production full of drama, grace and technical excellence.

The show is an impressive blend of ice dance, ballet, circus skills and storytelling which is captivating throughout. The lighting, costumes and choreography all work well with Tchaikovskyʼs classic music to create a range of moods, from menacing and dramatic to joyful and dreamlike. The scene changes are slick and the performers are accomplished, carrying off a dizzying range of lifts and spins, throws and wire work on a relatively small stage.

By far the most dramatic scenes are those set in the shadowy, cobwebbed cave of the black fairy. She gnashes her teeth clad in leather, fishnet and feathers, while the crowlike members of her evil gang play - quite literally - with fire.

There is no narration and the story is conveyed entirely through the music and choreography. If itʼs been a while since youʼve read the fairytale, I recommend you arrive early, buy a programme and swot up on the plot. Dry ice is used in a number of scenes, which inevitably pours off the stage and over the people in the front row, who are also regularly showered with ice from the performersʼ skates. I would recommend sitting a bit further back if you want to avoid an unintentionally interactive experience.

Itʼs a shame there is no live orchestra. Although the music, specially arranged and recorded for the show, is good, it didnʼt match the power of the live visual elements. But this is a small quibble. Overall, it is a high quality production that I would recommend to fans of ice dance spectaculars.

- Alexandra Taylor