FIGURE skating is one of those rare sports you want to watch but occasionally have to hide your eyes in case they fall over.
Millions of us tune in to the few televised competitions to watch individuals and couples attempt breathtaking jumps and daredevil spins whilst hurtling round an ice rink at breakneck speed.
And I’m sure I am not in the minority of those who grit our teeth as we perch on the edge of our seat until the skater has landed a triple axel jump or caught his acrobatic partner.
And Ice, created by none other than Bristol-born Olympic champion Robin Cousins, is no different.
At opening night at the Bristol Hippodrome there were gasps aplenty as the audience waited with baited breath to make sure each skater landed their daring move safely. The auditorium was buzzing with amazement and disbelief at some of the tricks in this theatrical display of individual dances, couples’ performances and big company numbers.
All 14 of the professional ice skates in the show, which is packed with glitzy costumes fit for TV's Dancing on Ice, are hugely talented on their blades as they take it turns to wow the audience with an array of musical styles from the balletic to hip hop.
An unfortunate fall early in the first half from Annie Aggeler had us worried for a moment but our nerves were restored with the stand out performance before the interval by Neill Shelton and Brandee Malto, whose fun, fast-paced duet saw dancer Brandee cartwheel and flip her way through the air without so much as breaking a sweat.
Comedian of the cast Vaughn Chipeur provided some bold circus-like moves in his Blade Runner solo and later astounded us all by landing several backflips on his blades while aerial artist Kate Endriulaitis took the show up a notch with her hoop act.
Michael Solonoski took his turn to amaze in the second half by dancing and singing to Tonight, interspersing his vocals with stunning axel jumps confidently landed.
Ice took on an upbeat Rat Pack feel in the latter stages of the show and it was Brandee Malto who again stole the show with a sexy and gravity-defying performance to a reworked version of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance.
Robin, the 1980 Olympic champion, said in creating Ice he wanted to ‘bring the daring and dazzling world of figure skating back into an intimate theatre setting’ 30 years after his first show Electric Ice took to the stage.
And the applause he received making a brief appearance on the stage he knows so well after an explosive end to the show proved he has done just that.
Ice is an exhilarating display of the magic of ice skating which, with more tricks and group acrobatics, is probably better than an Olympic final.
Robin Cousins’ Ice finishes its first tour at the Bristol Hippodrome on Saturday, May 3.