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From Russia with love

PUBLISHED: 18:18 20 May 2009 | UPDATED: 17:26 16 August 2010

SPECTACULAR: Cinderella on Ice

SPECTACULAR: Cinderella on Ice

THE Churchill theatre hosted the Imperial Ice Stars in a spectacular version of Cinderella last week, where 14 tonnes of ice and 34 hours work were needed before the performers could launch themselves into this Russian version of the classic tale. Seriou

THE Churchill theatre hosted the Imperial Ice Stars in a spectacular version of Cinderella last week, where 14 tonnes of ice and 34 hours work were needed before the performers could launch themselves into this Russian version of the classic tale.

Seriously comfortable seats and a plush red proscenium arch give a taste of the Marinsky Theatre in St Petersburg as the skaters glide in balletic movements to unfold the troubled story of Cinderella's early life.

Her mother lies on her deathbed as Cinderella and her father mourn the passing of an adored wife and parent.

Ten years later, and in the village square a poster for Swan Lake (Sold out) is posted up. The townspeople twirl and leap in anticipation of this special event, and Cinderella is entranced.

A gypsy woman glides in with her crystal ball, and over this happy scene clocks are whirring everywhere in a mute warning that all is not going to be well.

On cue, Cinders' step-mother appears with her two ravishing, but spoiled, daughters.

No ugly ducklings, these two are genuine rivals, as they run rings round the innocent girl. Her father tries to defuse the situation by dancing with his adored daughter, but is distracted by constantly consulting his pocket watch and being swept away by his beautiful, but demanding, second wife.

Next scene is the ballet studio, where Cinderella is receiving instruction from a young and attentive ballet master.

They twirl and glide in a hypnotic dance, and it is clear that Cinderella has a special talent.

Now, suddenly a magical transformation, and we are onstage at the theatre where Swan Lake is about to start.

Cinderella is in the Corps de ballet, much to her sisters' disgust, and the curtain rises at the back of the stage revealing a beautiful Victorian playhouse crammed with eager theatregoers.

The ballet begins, and in the middle of the swans' dance the leading lady hurts her ankle and is unable to continue.

To the horror of her watching sisters, Cinderella is chosen to take over the role and save the show.

She delivers a stunning performance, literally flying like a swan to finish a perfect routine.

Romance is in the air, as the prince and she meet after the show and dance together in the rain.

To celebrate, the prince orders a splendid ball, and invitations are given out to the townsfolk.

Cinderella receives one but her step-mother manages to filch it and pass it to her daughters to make sure they get to meet the prince.

Cinderella is distraught, but the gypsy woman appears and comforts her, finally providing the magic coach for her triumphant entry to the ball.

The magnificent party is everything you would expect, but a twist is introduced when the time police, 12 numerals in silken jumpsuits and balaclavas, break up the happy throng and curtail the budding romance.

The prince is now in despair, with only a white boot to dance with, but the Mayor's son intervenes to try and re-unite the lovers, and despite the best efforts of the sisters to thwart the result, Velcro saves the day and the happy couple deliver a stunning pas de deux for a finale.

This is a truly theatrical event, with

everything from lavish costumes to thrilling skills and moving moments.

Congratulations to the company and The Churchill.

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