A magical telling of a classic tale

Cinderella on Ice

Malvern Forum Theatre


A SPECIAL treat waits at Malvern Forum theatre this week as Theatre on Ice producers, Wild Rose, presents a truly magical production of the classic fairytale, Cinderella.

Russia's Imperial Ice Stars specialise in bringing ice dancing to theatre venues and expertly pack their exhilarating spins, lifts and leaps into a space just a third the size of a normal arena.  And this is no exception.  

The high-speed combination of extraordinary skating, beautifully staged and breath-taking aerial feats are all fairly incredible to watch. This is a fine delivery of a dazzling interpretation of this enchanting story and will be loved by all ages.

The lavish costumes and clever choreography are, at times, quite breathtaking.  Special credit to the choreographer Boris Myagkov, a leading choreographer for the Bolshoi ballet, for the sheer magic the dancers achieve in such a small space to persuade adults and children alike into this imaginative world.  

Cinderella, played by Valeria Vorobyeva is beautifully agile and alluring and dominates each scene with poise and grace.  

Valdis Mintals was suitably handsome and strong as the prince, elegant and refined and delighted with the most amazing spins and stunning lifts.  

Buttons was also brilliant but so were all of the dancers, mostly ex-Olympians or certainly extremely high achievers in the ice skating world. 

The mischievous stepmother and two ugly step sisters are shamefully mean, amusingly naughty and wickedly silly with their wonderful timing and comical skating as they battle to squeeze into the glass skate.

A special favorite is the great clock striking midnight scene as the ice dance ensemble, dressed entirely in all black body stockings play the part of the clock's hands above a light projected clock face on to the ice. Wonderful!

I highly recommend it, its short and sweet (second act is only 30 minutes) but do wrap up warm – its chilly in there!

Johanna Brand

So how does a stage become an ice rink?

The Cold Facts

• 14 tons of ice is used on stage equaling the weight of two double-decker buses.

• 14000 litres of water are used to build the rink - enough water to make more than 56,000 cups of tea.

• 2,500 litres of antifreeze is used in the pipe systems enough to fill 100 Rolls Royce radiators.

• 15km of pipe work is used to create the ice floor. Laid end to end, a similar distance would take Kelly Holmes 1 hour and 15 minutes to run.

• The antifreeze in the ice machines reaches temperatures of -15 degrees – three times colder than a home freezer.

• It takes 140 man hours to build the rink and 30 hours to dismantle it.

• The combined distance travelled by all the vehicles on tour is equivalent to a journey 2 .75 times around the world.


The Timetable

A strict timetable needs to be followed in order for the ice rink to be ready in time for rehearsals on the opening night.

The work starts the previous day at 09:00hrs when technicians arrive at the venue with two 45ft trucks. 

Eight venue technicians unload the set and costume truck, known as the dry truck, and start rigging lights, set and flying equipment. At 14:00, the wet truck containing the floor system is unloaded and the task of building the ice rink begins.

Two 15m X 15m industrial pool liners are laid on the stage and side supports from wood are built to create a large but shallow swimming pool. Inside the pool, 15km of a special flexible rubber pipe is laid and connected to a header system which is connected to two chiller units on the back of the wet truck.

Two chiller units are used so that in the unlikely event of a total break down of one unit, the second will maintain the rink and prevent flooding of the stage and the potential loss of a performance. The floor system is then filled with anti-freeze and the pressure is checked.

It resembles a giant radiator lying flat on the stage, but instead of being connected to a boiler, it is connected to a chiller unit. This is in effect a simple flow and return pipe system. The anti-freeze is then chilled to –15*C and circulated through the floor pipes. At this point the rubber pipes will start to frost over. 

Four tons of crushed ice is then spread over the floor pipes, providing a head start in the freezing process. From this point, the rink is sprayed with water every 20-30 minutes until it reaches 7-8cm thick. This process takes approximately 14-18hrs. 

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