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The Nutcracker on Ice - London Palladium

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

INTERNATIONAL ice dance sensation, The Imperial Ice Stars, are bringing their new production of The Nutcracker on Ice to the London Palladium, where it will run for a strictly limited season of 14 performances only – from October 24 to November 3, 2013.

A UK premiere, it stars ITV’s Dancing on Ice duo Keith Chegwin and Olga Sharutenko.

Although the London Palladium is no stranger to ice – in the late 1890s it was the site of The National Skating Palace and in 1898 hosted the World Figure Skating Championships – The Nutcracker on Ice marks the first time in almost 36 years that its stage will be transformed into an ice rink.

To Tchaikovsky’s most famous score, the 26-strong cast of Olympic, World, European and National Championship skaters will astound and mesmerise audiences with their adrenaline-rich, dramatic performance, in the intimate setting of a frozen theatre stage.

Over the last nine years, The Imperial Ice Stars have performed to almost four million people across five continents, at some of the world’s most prestigious venues – London’s Royal Albert Hall and Sadler’s Wells, Singapore’s new Marina Bay Sands Grand Theatre, Montreal’s Place des Arts and Moscow’s Red Square.

This award-winning troupe has built up a worldwide following and established an unrivalled reputation for their sophisticated portrayals of classic works, and for executing the most complex and daring manoeuvres on the ice. Their previous world tours (Sleeping Beauty on Ice, Swan Lake on Ice and Cinderella on Ice) have been greeted with nightly standing ovations and five-star reviews.

Renowned Artistic Director Tony Mercer – the world’s leading creator of contemporary theatre-on-ice – has once again teamed with four-time figure skating World Champion and dual Olympic gold medallist Evgeny Platov, and dual World Champion Maxim Staviski to create choreography that further raises the bar, with ever more breathtaking high-speed leaps and throws, and awe-inspiring acrobatics, coupled with the most graceful and sublime ice dancing.

As Tony Mercer explains: “The art form of ice dance lends itself beautifully to this well-loved tale. Not only does the story entail some beautiful romantic ‘adagios’ with lifts and jumps, but the exotic ‘divertissements’ from Spain, China, Arabia, Russia and Egypt allow us to introduce some gymnastics, flying, acrobatics, fire and illusions.”

Keith Chegwin and Olga Sharutenko captured the nation’s hearts with their fun and energetic routines on ITV’s Dancing on Ice earlier this year, surviving the public vote twice before they were eventually eliminated in Week 7.

With a career that spans almost 50 years Keith Chegwin, who will skate as Drosselmeyer, is much loved by television audiences for Swap Shop and Cheggars Plays Pop and more recently for television appearances on Daybreak, Ricky Gervais’ Extras and Gervais’ and Stephen Merchant’s Life’s Too Short.

Olga Sharutenko joined The Imperial Ice Stars in 2004 and has since skated in all the company’s productions in the lead roles to great critical acclaim; she made her Dancing on Ice debut in 2006 when she partnered John Barrowman.

This brand new production features lavish and fantastical sets from one of Australia’s premier scenic designers, Eamon D’Arcy, whose designs for previous Imperial Ice Stars tours have captured the imaginations of audiences around the world. Together with characteristically sumptuous costumes by Elena Predvodeteleva – a renowned Russian designer of costumes for theatre, film and circus as well as couture – and magical special effects, The Nutcracker on Ice promises to be a feast for the senses.

Set in early 1900s St Petersburg, The Nutcracker on Ice follows the classic Russian tale of Marie, the little girl whose love brings to life her cherished Nutcracker doll – a magical Christmas gift from her mysterious godfather Drosselmeyer – leading to adventures with the Mouse King, the enchanted Prince, and the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Tickets: £21 – £66. Concessions are available for Groups and Families. To book call the box office on 0844 874 0664 or visit www.seetickets.com/.

Times: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm; Press Night (Friday, October 25) at 7pm; Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm (not Thursday, October 24); Sunday matinees at 3pm.

The Nutcracker on Ice comes to the West End having toured South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Asia to outstanding critical and popular acclaim. Following its premiere at the London Palladium, the show transfers to Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff (November 8 to November 17) and the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton (November 19 to November 23).

A Chorus Line continues at the London Palladium until August 31, 2013. And the highly anticipated X Factor musical, I Can’t Sing!, is scheduled to open at the London Palladium on March 26, 2014, following preview performances from February 27.