DISNEY ON ICE
By Gary Murray
Disney on Ice has been around for years but I have never attended. I have nothing against going to see the shows; it was just that I never had a reason. My nine year-old goddaughter wanted to see the performance so with tickets in our hands, we attended the Wed night performance at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
This version of Disney on Ice is concentrated in the Pixar world of Toy Story. Our little drama opens with Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy skating around giant wood blocks. The four notice a cardboard box in the center of the ice with a toy solider inside. They say that Andy is getting ready for college and is boxing up all his toys.
As these four exit, Andy comes on stage and does a nice solo routine to “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” Then, two army men parachute onto center ice to ‘The Toys (Boys) are Back in Town,” done in G-rated Disney style. About 16 fellow soldiers take the ice and they do a military style of ice marching, full of syncopation and rifle moves.
Then we are introduced to the major characters—Three Troll Dolls, The Piggy Bank, Slinky-dog, Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head, T-rex, Jessie, Bulls Eye, Woody and Buzz Light-year. The recordings of the leads all sound like their movie counterparts.
The story follows the plot of Toy Story 3, with elements of the first two episodes. We are reintroduced to the meeting of Woody and Buzz along with parts of Woody’s adventure in television. The second act parallels the last movie with the tots attacking the toys and their escape from the terrible bear at the day care. It takes a more gentile path, full of high caliber skating and very little terror moments.
Since Toy Story has few musical numbers, the creators of the Disney on Ice show had to rely on staples from different songs. There was a giant dollop of 1970’s disco and 1980’s new wave in the mix along with the Star Wars cantina tune and the old standard of “Friendship”. Done as a show stopper is the all-dancing number “Hoe-Down Throw Down,” that brought the young patrons of the show to their feet.
Since most of the cast members are trapped inside giant costumes, their movements are very much restricted. At times they struggle just to keep balance in the giant rubber suits. A few of the performers did stand-out. The young skater who played Jessie not only showed all the elements of the character, she showed some very impressive expertise on the ice. The way she moved with her male partners and as a solo artist proved that she had some definite skills as a skater.
The couple of Ken and Barbie did two different skates (one with a multiple of ‘Kens’ as costume changes) and both showing almost Olympic grace. I wish I knew the names of the performers because I’m sure they have been a part of ice skating television broadcasts.
This is a safe show, done for kids but done very well. The actors mimic the pre-recorded lines very well and skate even better. The director uses every element to tell the tale, from a giant backdrop of a toy box full of step-ladders to projecting images on the ice. The kids will love seeing all of their favorite characters live and skating and the adults will enjoy watching the kids having good, clean family fun. If you love the Pixar Toy Story films, then you will love this version of Disney on Ice.