The Tube to North Greenwich is full of pint-sized princesses and the temperature in the O2 arena has dropped a degree or two - it’s Disney on Ice time again. For children, the spectacle of their favourite characters made flesh, larger-than-life and on skates to boot, is an intoxicating one. Add songs from the soundtracks booming around the vault, judicious use of bubbles, pyrotechnics and lashings of fairy dust and those children are dropping their £7.50 popcorn in awe.
A scene from Disney on Ice: Worlds of Fantasy at The O2, London
This year the fantastical theme comprises scenes from Cars, the Little Mermaid, Tinker Bell and Toy Story 3. A vast technical team ensures that each fantasy glides to a crescendo in a kaleidoscope of colour and movement. Rick Papineau’s props team have excelled with the automobile contingent - the animatronic Lightning McQueen and associates are the ultimate remote-controlled cars, with blinking headlight eyes and moving bumper mouths, wheeling in synch across the ice before the real skate parade begins. The impressive choreography and costume design imparts star quality to what is essentially a brazenly commercialised enterprise. The physicality of the elite skaters as they sashay through the films’ most memorable events, coupled with the startling resemblance they bear to their animated originals - especially in the case of Toy Story’s Barbie and Ken and the Green Army - is inexplicably appealing. It’s not just the children emitting happy chirps of recognition as classic scenes are skated out in flamboyant fashion - it’s easy enough for anyone to get carried along by the exuberance of it all.