REVIEW: Cirque de Glace Evolution

07
March
2017

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REVIEW: Cirque de Glace ‘Evolution’ – Kings Theatre Southsea –
By John B – Tuesday 7 March

Every now and again we like to go to see productions elsewhere in our beautiful county – and this was a first for me on two counts. Having missed the company when they came to the Mayflower in January last year, I was determined not to miss them this time round. I’m very glad that I made the trip to Southsea to the beautiful Kings Theatre – another first as I had never been to this theatre. Yes, shame on me, I know!

‘Evolution’ tells the story of Earth from the Big Bang to modern day and beyond. It asks a lot of questions along the way about why we take the Earth for granted. There are references to global warming, and even destroying the rainforest with real running chainsaws.

cirque de glace

The message is that we are Children of the Earth – it’s not the other way round. Earth (Gaia) takes her first breath, but eventually is destroyed by man and hope has to be restored.

The skating is impeccable – and there are lots of visual effects and pyrotechnics to illustrate the story… hey, they even set fire to the ice at one point.

I loved the billowing wings and costumes of the Woodland Spirits as they glided around the cloth trees – until suddenly the trees fell and there were more people dangling right up at the top of the proscenium arch! Astonishing.

cirque de glace

Then came something which I thought would be great fun to try myself… a skater suspended from the end of a rope by one arm, sweeping around the stage and then suddenly soaring up through the air in a huge arc – back down and then up again. That looked great fun indeed. Then later there were TWO of them at it – one suspended beneath the other by holding the head and body with their feet. And then AGAIN – but this time suspended just by the blade on the bottom of the boot. Wow.

cirque de glace

The best thing about all this is that a mixture of circus and ice skating makes for a great visual show – and you get the very best of acrobatics and spinning skills that you would see on the telly in a circus show and an ice skating competition.

cirque de glace

I think I can safely say that the skater who used what looked like a drainpipe for a trampoline and hurtled towards the overhead lights and landed perfectly many times is very brave – as are the ones who were hurled around with their noses barely three inches off the floor.

cirque de glace

Oh, and then there are the ones who are horizontally spun around relying on being held up by another skater using only one hand – how DO they do that?

I think the skaters would admit themselves that the only drawback about the Kings Theatre (which is extraordinarily beautiful) is that the stage is so small, and that skating at speed in such a confined space takes a LOT of skill. There were a couple of mishaps, including the astronauts seemingly running out of space on the Sea of Tranquility (!) – but I’m sure the audience understood.

The theatre itself is relatively small too – so that even sitting in the dress circle we could actually feel the flames from the machines on stage.

All-in-all, the skaters and production team should be very proud of what they have achieved. The stage takes 36 hours to prepare, with the stage having to be raised, parts of the stalls having to be removed – and machinery even having to be parked at the back of the theatre to make sure the ice is in pristine condition.

So, a fantastic effort – all this and we were back in Winchester by 10.30pm – with this review posted before midnight!

The Russian Ice Stars have already tweeted that the crowd was ‘phenomenal’. It was great fun – and well worth a visit.

Cirque de Glace continues at the Kings Theatre until Sunday 12 March.