Adam Hurrell went to cast a critical eye over the world-famous touring show that combines ice-skating and show tune hits at the Royal Opera House Muscat
Broadway on Ice is billed as being a veritable feast of classic show tunes paired with breathtaking choreography. Produced by Willy Bietek, who is considered to be one of the leading global ice skating producers, starring some famous names from Broadway shows as well as award-winning skaters, the stage was set for a brilliant show.
Skating-wise, Broadway on Ice, was immensely impressive. Twists, turns, lifts, jumps and summersaults all wowed the audience at the Christmas Day evening performance. There were a couple of tumbles towards the end of Act II and a few shaky lifts but that could be forgiven and put down to fatigue, as it is a phenomenally physical performance.
After a rather sluggish start, the pace was certainly accelerated and the company ended Act I on a real high with tangible amounts of energy and enthusiasm. Act II began well, but lost its momentum with the concert segment, where the pace slowed to such a level that the audience became noticeably restless and fidgety. This whole section, in my view, added little to the show as a whole. After the pianist interlude, the dancing and fun show tunes continued. The final number, “Oh What A Night” from the musical, Jersey Boys, was a definite highlight of the evening.
It’s fair to say that Broadway on Ice is a show for those who love skating more than they love Broadway. Combining the two doesn’t really add anything extra to either of them. While the skating was a hit, some of the music – the singing in particular – was more of a miss. Davis Gaines’ messy “Bring him home” from Les Miserables and Ira Lauren’s rendition of “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” from Phantom of the Opera, were particular lowlights. There is no doubting Gaines’ talent, as his credit list is extremely extensive, and the same can be said for Ira Lauren, but it all sounded a little bit strained. Most likely caused by the busy performance schedule and stresses of travelling.
Overall, I did enjoy my time at Broadway on Ice. The skating was very impressive, but some of the vocals were really below par. This is the first performance I have seen at the Royal Opera House this season that did not receive a full standing ovation, with only a few members of the audience taking to their feet to show their appreciation as the show closed.