At times it feels too much like a 70s psychedelic rave, but it's worth it for the stunts!
I’m not sure where to start with this show, it was like nothing I’ve ever seen before and I don’t think I’ll see anything like it again. Somewhere between an ice dance show and a circus, Evolution tells the story of the earth and mankind, through the often surreal movements of The Russian Ice Stars.
Admittedly, I wasn’t sure that I was initially enjoying it. The opening few dances, detailing the volcanic formation of the world and the ‘birth’ of Gaia (Earth), reminded me of a David Bowie music video with a bit of Kate Bush thrown in…if you were watching it at 3am after drinking a lot of tequila. But by the time trees had evolved I was really getting into it, the aerial silk work was amazing and terrifying, leaving me peeking through my fingers! Meanwhile, by the end of the first act, humans had also evolved and had discovered both the wheel and fire. The subsequent tribal scenes were really rousing, with drumbeats and flashing lights that made you want to stand up and start beating your chest too!
The second act wasn’t as thrilling, it got a little overbearing with dance scenes, warning us about the dangers of money, climate change and global warming. Not that they’re not important messages, but coupled with the narrative voice-over, it began to feel a little bit like a Year 8 drama piece. Nevertheless, the level of skill from the skaters and acrobats alike was fantastic, with one of the most hair-raising scenes showing a tree spirit perform backflips over the ice and land on a narrow and very bendy wooden beam, held on the shoulders of two lumberjacks!
The finale jumped forward to a time when people had come to respect and worship mother earth, but despite the number of performers on stage, the ending itself was a little anti-climactic. However, I can only imagine how exhausting all of the prior lifts, spins and acrobatics would have been, so I am willing to forgive that!
I’d definitely recommend Evolution if you’re looking for something different. Yes the story was a bit cagey and moralising and they skipped over all the dinosaurs (I was so looking forward to a T-rex on ice!), but the skill and stunts on display are not to be missed.
Cirque de Glace- Evolution is at Mayflower Theatre until 10th January. Tickets can be bought here.