Disney on Ice Dream Big, Dragon and Sleeping Beauty. Picture: Disney
Dragon and Sleeping Beauty. Picture: Disney

DISNEY ON ICE DREAM BIG. Produced by Feld Entertainment. At the Grand Arena, Grand West. Until Sunday 15 July, 2018.

SHEILA CHISHOLM reviews

Feld Entertainment’s Disney on Ice, subtitled DREAM Big, or If You Can Dream It You Can Do It, sums up Walt Disney’s life. Starting out as a regular newspaper artist, Disney’s dreams, tied in with his co-workers, eventually built an unassailable empire. This, however, didn’t happen overnight.

Money problems reduced Disney to bankruptcy more than once. But dreaming on, he and his team created the loveable cartoon character Mickey Mouse. Then, in 1929, came Minnie Mouse, Goofy and Pluto. Fame and fortune followed when on 21 December 1937,  Disney  released his first full-length animated film – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In spite of the then depression Snow White grossed $1499 million.

Disney on Ice Dream Big, Ariel and her fin-clad sisters. Picture: Disney
Ariel and her fin-clad sisters in Disney on Ice Dream Big. Picture: Disney

We sat transfixed

And such is Disney’s magical appeal that, despite our present day financial woes, families jam-packed the Grand Arena for the Disney on Ice Dream Big opening night. Whole families from tiny tots to great-grand-mothers/fathers sat transfixed as one after another favourite Disney character skated onto and around the Grand Arena’s large ice-rink.

Most characters were from fairy “happy ever after” tales costumed, by Feld Entertainment’s designers, in (marginal) adaptations of Disney’s originals.

An effective draped monolithic three-tiered cave acted as wings for entrances and exits. Ramps leading to and from the first elevation added sight dimensions. So too did the second tier act as a hill for Sleeping Beauty’s resting place. On the third tier wicked fairies “scared” as they cast evil spells – in sprays of lights and pyrotechnics.

Disney on Ice Dream Big opened when petite Tinker Bell suddenly appeared out of the dark. Daintily dressed in silver wig, sparkling mesh wings and soft-green leafy costume she spun like a top in a high arabesque. To a backing track she sang, or rather mouthed, When You Wish Upon a Star, while spinning magic over the audience before introducing Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

These two delightful mice, performing as continuity characters, were the first of many “enormous head masked” characters. Wow! What realistic masks! They were magnificent, drawing well deserved gasps of wondrous applause.

Outstanding masks/costumes

Best of all were The Seven Dwarfs.  Costumed in costumes that sized them down to dwarf size their painted faces easily identified them. Grumpy came a good second to crowd favourite the red cheeked, big eared loveable Dopey. Singing in “Disney” voices Heigh  Ho, Heigh Ho, their skating steps echoed digging activities. Such a pity this scene was so short that we didn’t see more of them and the lovely Snow White and her handsome Prince.

Other outstanding masks/costumes were Aladdin’s giant blue Genie; Belle’s scene gold Candelabra, gold knives and forks; the Exotic solo Fish, red Crab’s shell and pincers, variegated fins on fish corps de skaters and multihued shell decor in Under the Sea and, in Two Sisters Snowman stole everyone’s heart.

Stepping straight from Fairyland, Cinderella’s horse driven glittering coach has to be seen to be believed. As does the evil maleficent fire-spewing dragon Prince Phillip battles. Kenneth Feld’s design engineers are world class. So too are those lighting experts responsible for ever-changing lighting gobos and on-going special effects, including under-water bubbles and spectacular snow falls,

Technically the six principals are not as strong as (perhaps) could be expected. However, Disney on Ice Dream Big is designed less at  aiming for a Gold Olympic medal and more around skaters ability to bring each fairy tale character to life. Because they like dreams to come true, they performed brilliantly.

Please see this most magical of shows. And note special family packages for Disney on Ice tickets 2018 Cape Town.

What: Disney on Ice Dream Big review
Where: Grand Arena, Grand  West Cape Town
When: Until Sunday 15 July, 2018
Disney on Ice Dream Big tickets: From R150 www.computicket.co.za, 0861 915 800
Web: https://www.disneyonice.com/za/en-za/dream-big
WS