‘Young boys should never be sent to bed,’ Sir James Matthew Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, once said. ‘They always wake up a day older, and then before you know it, they’re grown.’ Well, there’s no place like the theatre to pretend that you haven’t grown up quite yet, and this summer, the Teatro at Montecasino and The Imperial Ice Stars invite you to reconnect with your inner child for the magic of Peter Pan on Ice.
The last time this world-renowned ice-dancing company performed on our shores was 2017, with their breathtaking reimagining of Cinderella on Ice. Previously, they’ve thrilled local audiences with tours of The Nutcracker on Ice, Sleeping Beauty on Ice and Swan Lake on Ice. ‘Whether you’ve seen The Imperial Ice Stars before, or have yet to experience the thrill of world-class ice-skating in the intimacy of the theatre, this dramatic new ice interpretation of one of the most classic novels will take your breath away,’ says James Cundall, co-founder of The Imperial Ice Stars and producer and CEO of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions.
Picture the scene. The curtain lifts on an intimate theatre stage, entirely converted to ice. It’s night-time in the Darling household, in London, where Wendy and her brothers, Michael and John, are preparing for bed. Suddenly, a lithe, green-clad boy flies in through the window, chasing a mysterious dark figure… What follows is a magical flight (past the second star on the right) to Peter Pan’s home, Neverland, where children never grow up. There, the Darling brothers and sister embark on adventures with the Lost Boys, the fairy Tinker Bell, princess Tiger Lily and a group of beautiful mermaids, all the while trying to escape a gang of nasty pirates led by the black-hearted Captain Hook (oh, and one very hungry crocodile…). It’s a tale of adventure, friendship and the magic of childhood, one that hasn’t aged since the play debuted on London stages in 1904.
With so much magic woven into the fabric of this story, staging it on ice seems like a natural choice. Which other medium can offer the fast-paced fluidity needed to bring to life the whirling, uninhibited realm of Neverland; the pace and danger of a pirate sword fight; or the joy of flight?
Of course, it takes skaters of incredible skill to pull this off, and The Imperial Ice Stars may be the only company up to the task. The cast includes 23 former World, European and National Championship-level skaters, whose adrenaline-rich performances have left audiences worldwide spellbound. Indeed, the choreography includes complex skating sequences that are rarely seen outside of Olympic arenas, and new stunts so dramatic, they’ve yet to be named. All of the above is the brainchild of the co-founder of the company Tony Mercer, who is recognised as the world’s foremost creator of contemporary ice theatre. Mercer is also responsible for having designed the nostalgic costumes for Peter Pan on Ice, in collaboration with Veronique Pasternak.
Converting a theatre into an ice rink – especially in the Joburg summer – is no mean feat. First, the stage is fitted with a custom-sized, heavy-duty-lined wooden structure. A staggering 15 km-long network of piping is carefully secured inside this base and connected to a chiller off-stage. One wrong connection, and that part of the stage won’t freeze correctly, endangering the athletes and the show. The entire system is then chilled to -15°C and covered with crushed ice. Every 15 minutes, it is sprayed with warm water (which freezes faster than cold) until the ice is 8 cm thick throughout. The temperature needs to be carefully monitored around the clock, and the ice is smoothed before curtain-up, during interval and after the show. And that’s how you create a winter wonderland in Joburg in summer…
Throw in an original score, flying stunts, aerial gymnastics, LED illumination effects and pyrotechnics (yes, fire on the ice), and you have a show that’s perfect festive fare for the young, and the young at heart.
Book your seat
Venue Teatro at Montecasino
Dates 6 December 2019 to 11 January 2020
Cost R150–R475, family packages from R1 400 for 4
Tickets Visit computicket.com