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Disney On Ice: Wembley Arena (and touring)

November 20, 2019

(seen at the 6.30pm performance on 14th November 2019)

Feld Productions operate un-ending Disney Ice tours around the globe. Is there a reason – other than the famous brand – that they can keep going? The monkey was curious and decided to find out for itself…

…and the answer is “yes.”

This is really, genuinely, nicely done. Costumes (Scott Lane) are impressive, Adam and Melanie Wilson do well condensing the entire storylines of several recent and classic movies into short skated tales, and director Patty Vincent ensures there isn’t a dull moment.

Following a bit of fun pre-show, a 31 strong company marching-band smile and wave to the audience (especially the little ones – practically adopting the tot on the monkey’s row) before the main mouse, his better half, Goofy and Donald appear to frame our show.

Goofy and Donald want to make a movie… and Goofy doesn’t have a script. Mickey suggests using some famous Disney ideas as the basis, and Minnie thinks “Pinocchio” is the best way to start.

The toy-shop slides into view, and Pinocchio himself proves there are no strings by falling over.
This classic gives way to “Finding Nemo” as the search for Dory’s parents begins. Vivid costumes communicate the tale, and Crush is a superb piece of design, as are his young skating acolytes.

This massive “Beauty and the Beast” fan broke into a huge smile as Belle appeared, signalling that a tale as old as time was going to unfold. Soloist Olivia Oltmanns gives an impressive display before loveable Lumiere, Cogsworth and the rest tell the story. The beast transforms before our eyes, and the final duet skate is as good as any Olympic performance.

The couple set the stage for one of the best sequences in the show as Disney Princesses and their princes, past and present, appear in a series of breath-taking routines. Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Snow White, Jasmine and more, appear with partners who lift, spin and twirl them around the ice.

Younger children then react vociferously when Anna appears, heralding the start of a lengthy “Frozen” re-telling. It’s all here, an Ice Castle with Elsa rising atop it, Olaf, Kristoff, Hans… and of course “Let It Go.” There’s sunshine, fireworks and real snow, a magical way to close the first half.

Second half brings up Aladdin – well, more genies than anyone can handle  – with a carpet to follow. Short but fun, as is the next sequence – a well-updated Toy Story 4, with Forky chased by the other toys as they try convincing him of his value as a plaything rather than disposable cutlery.

Mulan follows, with some of the best costumes – loving those parasols – in the show… and a proper dragon too. A slightly untidy skating line at one point is the only flaw.

Finally there’s the love tonight for The Lion King. A proper routine as Timon and Pumbaa realise that Simba meeting Nala isn’t going to work well for their friendship. It all turns out right in the end, and the skating demonstration proves Simba and Nala are well-attuned for sure.

A colourful character parade to finish, and the show is over – feeling all too short. At 1 hour 45 including an interval, it really is a bit, and perhaps shifting one of the scenes from the first half into the second may make it feel a little more substantial.

Still, there really is something for all the family, and that does mean everybody. The youngest respond to the new characters, the teens go for Woody and Mulan, us older folk the classics. Surprisingly few on an original “date night” – yet for a couple this has to be a winner.

Fun, nicely constructed and unstinting in energy and enthusiasm, a magical night’s entertainment.

4 stars.

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