Celebrating its 80th anniversary, this year’s summer skating spectacular at the Pleasure Beach Arena is nothing less than a technical and artistic tour de force.
The heat is on from the opening moment when a single line of fire is drawn in the ice. But it’s not just the succession of flawless single, double, triple and ensemble routines performed with amazing verve by an impeccably synchronised team of 30 international skaters that give the show its fiery appeal, or the dazzling array of stylish costumes and bravura lighting effects.
A combination of Amanda Thompson’s production expertise (this is her 23rd ice show here) and Oula Jaaskelainen’s choreographic daring (it’s his 13th) sends everything and everyone into a fast-moving arena-sweeping motion that brings together expressive dance, sports technique, balletic dexterity and big-scale theatre to fantastic effect.
Why it’s entitled Obsession is a bit of a mystery. Sensation might be more appropriate for a production that makes full use of the available space, including a proscenium stage at the back and the venue’s vast illuminated staircase, wth stand-out sequences including a swirling tribute to Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and a spectacular ice-chase involving the entire company.
In the end, though, it’s down to the skaters to keep these enthralling routines on permanent sizzle, by delivering breathtaking jumps, backflips, spins and twizzles with exquisite fluidity while still managing to inject plenty of crowd-pleasing passion and intimacy into a Blackpool institution that is just as unique as the Tower and the trams.