This week, the New Alexandra Theatre stage is unlikely to be as you've ever seen it before. Covered in over 14 tonnes of ice the stage is set for the Imperial Ice Stars and their production of Sleeping Beauty On Ice which runs until Saturday.
Artistic director of the company Tony Mercer presents something very special here - the opportunity to see ice dancing in the intimacy of a theatre as opposed to on television or a large arena - it's almost like a different medium. You can really appreciate the skill required in such proximity. Just as a ballet tells the story of the Sleeping Beauty through gesture and it's own dance style, the ice dancing does too - it's very different but achieves the same result. With this we have speed unlike any other show, daring and exciting lifts and a conglomeration of catches, spins, leaps, flying, arial stunts, fire... you name it!
Olga Sharutenko and Bogdan Berezenko (Photograph by Phil Hitchman)
ITV's Dancing On Ice professional and World Champion figure skater Olga Sharutenko is Princess Aurora, the girl destined to prick her finger and succumb to an endless sleep - only to be woken by true love's kiss in the shape of Prince Désiré - Bogdan Berezenko. Both command the ice with the highest level of skill, dazzling costumes, beautiful lifts and flying. I wish that I could comment with more understanding of ice dancing but I do believe that this should impress even the most knowledgeable.
Other roles worthy of mention are Aleksei Vasilev as Catalabutte and Svitlana Pylypenko as his assistant - although these are comedy roles the skaters must still execute the finest performance and they in particular get time to shine. Iuliia Odintcova and Jurijs Salmanovs as Carabosse and her shadow skate a much a harsher show. Far from the delicacy of the royal skaters this duo have a faster, more daring job performed equally as impressive.
Jurijs Salmanovs and Iuliia Odintcova (Photograph by Phil Hitchman)
The scenic design by Eamon D'Arcy consists mostly of backdrops, beautifully detailed and enough to make up for the fact that other scenery is impossible with the ice rink taking up all available space. The use of a pre-recorded soundtrack does lack the grandeur of a live band but by no means takes away from the incredible production.
If your reason for not going to the theatre is a hot and stuffy auditorium - you've no excuses here! That chill is soon forgotten about as this incredible cast soon heat things up with an unforgettable show. Unlike any usual evening of theatre, make the most of your chance to catch Sleeping Beauty On Ice at the Birmingham New Alexandra Theatre until Saturday 12th October 2013. Book tickets here.
Find out more about the ice and listen to interviews with the cast and crew here.
Cast List: Vasilii Andreev, Yulia Ashcheulova, Maksim Beliakov, Bogdan Berezenko, Anastasia Ignatyeve, Ekaterina Ivleva, Pavlo Khimich, Volodymyr Khodakivskyy, Fiona Kirk, Yahor Maistrou, Konstantin Medovikov, Artur Minchuck, Maria Mukhortova, Svetlana Nalimova, Iuliia Odintcova, Svitlana Pylypenko, Jurijs Salmanovs, Alina Saprykina, Olga Sharutenko, Anna Silaeva, Tatiana Smirnova, Danil Tataurov, Olga Tataurova, Oleg Tazetdinov, Alesksei Vasilev.