ArtSpoken & Reviews
Spectacular Peter Pan on Ice soars and spins
Jennifer de Klerk12/10/2019 09:47:17
Jennifer de Klerk: Swirl from the ice, soar into the air and sail through the clouds to Neverland – it’s sheer magic!
Peter Pan is a fantasy tale at the best of times with its pirates, mermaids, fairies and Indians, but here the blue seas, skies and forest glades of the island paradise take on a new dimension.
The sheet of ice that is the Teatro stage escalates dizzily into huge projection panoramas, swinging us across the streets and row houses of London into the old-fashioned playroom of the Darling family, and then through billowing clouds past “the second star on the right and straight on ‘til morning”.
The effect is mesmerising, made more so by the sweeping grace of the leaps, spins and lifts of the Imperial Ice Stars, a virtuoso cast of 24 champion ice skaters mostly from Russia. It seems only right and fitting that they should end by soaring effortlessly into the air.
The illusion continues as the mermaids bob through the waves, one fin elegantly extended, then rise swimmingly up into the blue ocean. Stunning!
The commanding presence of Captain Hook dominates his merry men, including a comically rotund Smedley, and there are some thrilling sword fights with the Lost Boys who are flung around like yoyos. A pair of intrepid mariners swing on ropes above the deck of the pirate ship.
Don’t forget the pulsating drums and pounding sticks of the Indian tribe as they protect their princess Tiger Lily. Small wonder John and Michael Darling in their pyjamas and nightcaps never want to leave!
Our hero Peter Pan is introduced in a striking duet with his shadow and, of course, he takes on Captain Hook in a thrilling duel to the death. Tinker Bell and Wendy are delightfully expressive in their traditional rivalry for Peter’s affections.
Star of the show, though, is undoubtedly the green, hulky Crocodile who has the whole audience clapping along to his gyrations.
Some of the story is sacrificed to the spins, but I hardly noticed … there is more than enough to delight. Favourite scenes? The pirates, said one small boy firmly. Tinker Bell, his sister contradicted. The mermaids, Mom chose decisively.
Definitely something for everyone, but then, this is Neverland, the stuff of dreams.
Peter Pan on Ice, a journey to Neverland with the Imperial Ice Stars, presented by Pieter Toerien, is at Montecasino’s Teatro until January 11, then moves to Artscape, Cape Town, until February 2.
Jennifer de Klerk is editor of Artslink.co.za