Hot Ice 2011 - The Arena, Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Time was when Hot Ice ran for six months rather than six weeks but, as they say, good things come in small packages and rather some show than no show.
Having returned to the Blackpool summer scene last year from its temporary shelving due to essential maintenance work being carried out on The Arena, it’s good to see that whilst the run has been shorn of quite a few weeks, the cast (this year numbering 30) and quality remain as high as ever.
There was always going to be a certain irony that having been at the cutting edge of contemporary skating for so many years, the show had to shut up shop just as television’s Dancing On Ice had made skating into the must see new rock and roll.
Whilst other skating shows made their cast dress up as Mickey Mouse and Snow White, Hot Ice introduced silks and aerial skills into its production – this year continuing that fusion of circus, burlesque, new cabaret and skating with the likes of the return of Alexey Kofanov and his cult show Soap inspired bathtub athletics.
This year’s mini United Nations of skaters boasts a company of 30 and the fact that South Shore’s own Katie Stainsby has Dancing On Ice credits to her name and Trent Nelson-Bond is a six times Australian Ice Champion matters not a jot.
For all its smattering of excellent solos and duets this is still essentially an ensemble production – receiving gasps for the speed of its chorus line carousels and spontaneous applause for the show stealing black clad flamenco routine.
From camp cabaret to red hot Latin American rhythms, from jungle beats to pumped up disco style Mozart there are more mood and costume changes than anyone would care to count.
Producer and director Amanda Thompson has clocked up 20 years at the helm this year – and looks set for at least another 20 more, and it’s good to see former Hot Ice favourite skater Oula Jaaskelainen back for a second year sharing the choreography with Anthony Johns.
The show runs until September 4 and is dedicated to the memory of ice skating legend and top British coach Betty Calloway who recently passed away at the age of 83.