REVIEW: Hot Ice - Mesmerise, Blackpool Pleasure Beach Arena
As the nation basks in the on-going heatwave, there's one place guaranteed to keep you cool - while raising the temperatures even further.
For while most of us have been enjoying the sunshine, a phenomenal cast of international skating stars has once more been gathering in the welcome cool of the Pleasure Beach Arena to rehearse Hot Ice.
The 2018 production Mesmerise has all the usual trademarks of this 82-year-old resort institution; the bespoke soundtrack, sequins, rhinestones and feathers galore, death defying spins and leaps and some quite simple stunning skating from the 32 ice dancers hand picked by director and producer, Pleasure Beach boss Amanda Thompson.
Alongside all that, there’s a real freshness about this year’s production and casting, which featured influences from ballet and ballroom, Latin and street dance genres.
There's even a thrilling first act closing routine which pays a not-too-subtle nod to the amusement park's new rollercoaster Icon, set to the ride house's soundtrack and with the Icon dagger looming over the skaters from the stage. That's got to be a first.
With choreographic team Oula Jaaskelainen and Lynsey Brown, the blend between skating and dancing has been developed in recent years, and this focus is really showing now on the ice.
Their work makes great use of both the ice rink and the arena stage, meaning there’s always something to capture the eye no matter where you’re sat.
While it’s the female cast who get the best of the dramatic and dazzling costumes, and show some wonderful grace in their routines, this year’s Hot Ice show makes for a testosterone-packed night’s entertainment.
Throughout the show, the male company provide the highlights; sweeping round the rink at break-neck speed, punctuated by incredible displays of skill.
Time after time, they execute triple axel jumps, a move showcased and mastered by just a handful of the top-ranked skaters at the Winter Olympics earlier this year.
And with five Olympians in the cast this year - look out for their Olympic rings’ tattoos, they’re the only tattoos Amanda allows her cast to display - it’s clear the skating pedigree is growing year on year.
Until Saturday, September 8.