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Robin Cousins' ICE (Southampton)

Southampton premier for Robin Cousins' ICE is a magnificent, energetic spectacle that does not disappoint.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The World premier of Robin Cousins' newest production, ICE, hit the Mayflower to enthusiastic applause. Cousins directs and choreographs this incredible piece of theatre, nearly thirty years after his Electric Ice show took the world by storm. Due to the growing popularity of television's Dancing on Ice over the last decade, a huge national audience have witnessed and enjoyed a wide spectrum of ice dance. Therefore, expectations of any ice show are understandably high.

This magnificent, energetic spectacle does not disappoint on any level.

Maurice Luttikhuis works magic with his incredibly diverse, eclectic soundtracks of both original and reworked compositions. The music, ice dance and stage lighting inherently link each performance to form a powerful and provocative entity, seamlessly changing the mood and atmosphere as the many and varied scenes unfold.

Tim Mitchell's lighting is indisputably mesmeric. The depth of colour and intricate, ever changing floor patterns, together with judicious use of dry ice, completes each spellbinding number.

The set, static throughout, is cleverly conceived by David Sheilds, who also designed the attractive, germane costumes.

The cast of fourteen world class ice dancers: seven male and seven female, are sublime. These outstanding performers are hand-picked from across the globe by Cousins and his team. Their strength, commitment, figure skating ability and sheer zest take the breath away, and the dexterity and speed achieved on such a small ice rink is simply remarkable.

Many of the skaters demonstrate individual specialities.

Although it is difficult to choose artistes that stand out from this impressive line-up, I personally much enjoyed: Michael Solonski who sings poignantly to a lost love, whilst skating a complicated dance routine; Kate Endriulaitis exhibits her incredible gymnastic prowess in a ring suspended above the stage and Vaughn Chipeur, a cheeky chappie, has mastered the art of back somersaults AND at speed, AND on ice! His contemporary interpretation of the ‘Blade runner' sequence flatters the genre convincingly. Brandee Malto partnered with Neill Shelton is believably sassy in her routines and a real pocket dynamo.

This show should achieve rapturous acclaim and is a fitting sequel to Electric Ice, displaying how far this sport has evolved. To achieve such highs at a world premier is simply staggering.

- Veronica Crowley