Hot Ice: Rapture
Stageworks Worldwide Productions
Blackpool Pleasure Beach Arena
Within seconds of ‘curtain up’, a trail of flame licks across the ice, an effect that sums up not just the title, but the overall effect of nearly two hours of high-speed, lavish and daringly-dangerous entertainment.
There’s been a chilled-out summer season show here for 86 years now and even conflict, or contagion, have barely been able to interrupt its history. It’s as much a part of Blackpool’s unique attractions as any other element of the resort’s Golden Mile.
It also manages to conjure up something different each year—this time out, a giant cast of 30 performers, that often seems to double in size thanks to the choreography of Oula Jaaskelainen and quick-change costume moves from producer and director Amanda Thompson. There are moments when you marvel at the sheer traffic-management of it all...
The dizzying effect is breath-stopping and heart-taking—you choose which way round.
From an opening spot of Shakespeare-on-ice, for a Romeo & Juliet routine, all the way through to a disco-charged Utopian sequence, which proves to be a real showstopper. In between there are showcase moments for each member of the trans-continental cast, who earn rock star credentials with whoops of joy from an encouragingly young audience.
The performers’ spins, twists and jumps always come in nothing less than triplicate, while even their occasional spills are served with grace.
A Swan Lake finale to act one borrows from Matthew Bourne’s interpretation but stamps its own style with a pleasing change of tempo.
The cast are athletes who have earned their accolades and medals across the world but now concentrate all that talent into sequinned and be-feathered showbusiness.
The barely-there costumes are a testament to the internationally-recognised skills of the amusement park’s in-house Stageworks wardrobe department.
Along with the work of lighting designer Jack Norman, let alone the elemental effects of snow, water, fire (and bubbles!), this is a show for all the senses.
It runs until September 10, excluding Sundays, but with some matinées.
Reviewer: David Upton