"The Snow King" show - Impossible is possible!
April 4, 2015
By Oxana Shkrebtienko
Photos © Liubov Mudrechenko
Evgeni Plushenko's "The Snow King" show took place in Moscow last December and in Saint Petersburg in January. In addition to the Snow King himself, the show included famous skaters like World and European medalists Irina Slutskaya, Brian Joubert, Johnny Weir and Tomáš Verner, as well as acrobats, magicians and gymnasts. The audiences were plunged into a world of fairy tales and magic.
It had been a longtime dream of Evgeni's to create a Cirque du Soleil style ice show. And his show is unique - it includes skating, movies, elements of 3D-mapping and a lot of different actions on the ice at the same time. From the beginning to the end it captures your attention and does not let you go. The magic of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale is superbly conveyed to the audience, and kids are screaming with delight! "We invited children from 25 orphanages to the show; I saw their faces and they were beaming with happiness," producer Yana Rudkovskaya said after the premiere.
The show lasts an hour and a half, but two acts with an intermission are not that exhausting even for the youngest spectators. Especially since the dynamic action taking place on the ice does not allow you to get bored even for a minute. The young King's birthday celebration in his palace, fun colorful festivities in the town square - junior skaters occupy these numbers, as well as acrobats and gymnasts. Their performances are skillfully woven into the plot, and got a great response from the audience. Group numbers are followed by touching dance acts by Gerda (Irina Slutskaya) and Kai (Johnny Weir).
As the story goes, a piece of glass from the magic mirror gets into Kai's eye and his heart freezes to ice. And a kind young King is turned into the cold and heartless Snow King, the main character of the show, portrayed by the owner of all the titles in figure skating: Evgeni Plushenko. And then - the climax of the first act - a magical flying carriage driven by the Snow King himself, bringing poor Kai into the King's ice palace. This number always produces many admiring ohs and awes among the audience, and even adults sometimes want to believe in miracles! After all, the motto of this show is "impossible is possible"!
"All of us are like a family on the ice in this show. I am never alone. Thanks a lot to Evgeni, Yana, and to my partner Irina Slutskaya! I think our emotions are transferring to the audience, because we are already like a family," said multiple US champion Johnny Weir.
The brave girl Gerda does not despair, but sets out searching for her brother. On the path to finding Kai, many adventures await her, which the audience will see in the second act. The first act ends with the performance of illusionists Safronov brothers, in roles of the evil trolls. Magic is happening in front of the astonished spectators, vainly trying to understand how the trolls work all these magic tricks.
The second act opens with a pair's number by Brian Joubert and Katarina Gerboldt, skating together for the first time in the show. "For me this is a new experience, a new kind of ice performances, as well as my first skating in pairs, so I was very nervous, but I enjoyed the atmosphere of this show," Brian said after the premiere. Brian and Katarina play the roles of the prince and princess who give Gerda warm clothes and a golden carriage, so she can get to Kai easier.
Meanwhile, the Snow King reigns in his icy palace and has taken possession of Kai's soul. Their magnificently beautiful duet is one of the most memorable numbers in the whole show!
Gerda is continuing on her way, and suddenly encounters a gang of forest robbers led by their chieftain (European and Czech champion Tomáš Verner). They take all her possessions and kidnap her. "We worked and prepared for 3 months, the last five days rehearsing day and night to please the audience. I hope they liked our performance", Tomáš commented on preparing for his "Czech robber" part. This cheerful group number always makes the audience laugh. The crowd especially likes a dance by the old and the young robbers, played by Nodari Maisuradze and Katarina Gerboldt. Nodari clearly has a talent for acting, and he truly turns into an old woman-robber with comical moves on the ice. At the same time he brilliantly performs difficult pair elements - lifts, death spirals, spins... "I was very surprised at the first costume fitting. I had no idea how to play this role and skate in a dress! But in the end I have a lot of fun on the ice", said Nodari about his new experience. Even the chieftain was knocked over by this dashing old woman, and the audience laughed. But, as we know from the fairy tale, the little robber-girl took pity on Gerda and released her from captivity. She even gave Gerda her reindeer, so it should take her to the North Pole.
They travel farther and farther north, Gerda is tired and very cold... But, oh happiness, somebody appears on the horizon, it's Shaman swinging a magic tambourine. The fact that Shaman's costume looks more like Inca clothing clearly pleases the female part of the audience as it allows them to admire a shirtless Brian, who plays this role.
Shaman embraced Gerda with owl wings, warming her and giving her powers to battle the Snow King. "I skated with Johnny, and with Brian, and with Evgeni. I was mostly worried about these pair numbers, because when two single skaters perform next to each other on the ice, the responsibility is double, but believe me, this is so cool!," said Irina about her role.
And finally, Gerda reaches the threshold of the Ice palace. But the Snow King gives orders not to let the girl enter the palace, and forces his icy army to attack. A major battle follows; the battle between good and evil. This fascinating number keeps the crowd on the edge of their seats. The ice warriors with the King in the center, move absolutely synchronized on the ice, like a team of synchronized skaters. Bravo David Avdysh, the choreographer of this wonderful program!
Of course, in the end good triumphs! Gerda melts the ice in the Snow King's heart with the warmth of her loving heart, and he turns back into the good King. His icy army melts and Kai returns to Gerda. The final number is to a song by Dima Bilan, written especially for this show by musician Valeri Paramonov, who wrote all the music to "The Snow King".
And what about the King himself? Two-time Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko said at the press conference: "All over the world people call me 'The Ice King', so the choice of fairy tale for the show was logical. But I tried to be different, to play different roles; not only an evil King but also a good one. The glass from the magic mirror turned his heart into a block of ice, but in the end, of course, good won, evil failed and love triumphed." Evgeni also invited the public to come and enjoy further performances.
"The Snow King" is planned to go on a world tour of Russia, Japan, Korea and China. Next the show will be playing at the Olympic ice rink "Iceberg" in Sochi, May 1-4, 2015. (Click here for more information and tickets.)
Welcome to the magic fairy tale and see with your own eyes that the "impossible is possible!"