The opening night of the Russian Ice Stars’ performance of Snow White on Ice at The New Theatre Oxford was magical. The audience was an eclectic mix of intrigued adults and excitable children. Likewise, the performance combined incredible skating with a children’s tale and pantomime-style narrator, making this a show that is suitable for the entire family.

The skating was wonderful. The Russian Ice Stars delivered a professional performance and something so unique and rare to see live. The skaters were in complete control and each movement was precise yet natural. Even the somewhat hair-raising, aerial gymnastics were performed with ease. The skaters attach themselves to a wire that pulls them into the air by their arms or legs, all whilst spinning over an ice rink; not something you get to see every day! Juggling on ice was another party trick that the Russian Ice Stars brought to the rink; impressive on the ground, incredible on ice.

The costumes and set were a little dated, but I liked it. They gave the feeling of a Romantic ballet, with corseted skater dresses in subtle colours, combined with a set including a rustic cottage and typical fairy-tale forest. This seemed a natural fit as much of the skating could be described as ballet-on-ice: wonderfully turned out, graceful, elegant and poised. However what stood out for me was the contrast between the classical setting, and fairy narrator Rustie Lee’s costume. Dressed in bright pink and reporting in a very modern way via her radio program, she did not seem to fit at all with the rest of the cast. For a narrator to work in this performance, a traditional fairy-tale fairy, dressed in understated tones (with lots of sparkles, of course) would be more appropriate.

Regardless of whether or not you’re interested in Ice Dance, this performance of Snow White is not to be missed. The dancers were delightful to watch, the performance was exciting and the choreography was unpredictable.

Miranda Frudd

12th January 2015