The Imperial Ice Stars return to Australia with a breathtaking production of Swan Lake.
World-class ice dancers showcase athletic feats that one would see at the Winter Olympics within an intimate theatre setting. Throughout the show, people are clapping almost every few minutes as a way to express their appreciation of what they are witnessing on stage. And all this is happening to the most exquisite music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
Each of the performers is a World, European and Russian champion and prize-winner. Their flawless performance creates an illusion of effortless fun. This is especially seen in the interaction between Prince Siegfried (Bogdan Berezenko) and Benno (Stanislav Pertsov), who have a strong connection on stage. Through dance, it is clear they have a great sense of humour and are close friends.
In addition to being seasoned athletes, they each demonstrate remarkable grace and lightness. The scene at the lake with the swans is delicate and emotive. It is unexpected, unusual to see Odette (Olga Sharutenko) take off her skates to dance in her pointes on ice. Sublime.
Tony Mercer creation of Swan Lake is refreshing. It portrays Odile (Maria Mukhortova) as compassionate and sympathetic. She understands that love prevails and she cannot compete. She learns of her father's evil curse and sides with Odette and Prince Siegfried.
The ice skating aspect of the show injects it with adrenaline. The contrast of fire on ice makes this show striking. It stuns the audience.
The sets and backdrops for the production are spectacular as are the lavish costumes. Costuming is influenced by the Romanov period in Russian history reflecting when Tchaikovsky composed the music of Swan Lake. This period is also the setting for Mercer's Swan Lake. Perhaps this explains why this story ends in a dual between the prince and Von Rothbart.
This show must be seen. Words are not enough!
Swan Lake on Ice runs at Arts Centre Melbourne State Theatre until July 8 before moving to Wollongong, Adelaide and then Sydney.