The opening of the Dancing on Ice tours have been getting more and more exciting every year. This year was circus themed, though more in the Dr Parnassus vein than a traditional big top. The circus has been flavour of the month for many acts recently, Take that and Pink are the first to come to my mind. So to begin with I was a little disappointed to hear we were doing the same but in reality i think it was quite different. We had a three headed man, Rocket man, and flying horses no less.
The show started with Ray Quinn and a gigantic puppet bird swooping around the darkened arena. Chris and Jayne entered with a heavily laden wagon and with the aid of some props cast spells and conjured up the rest of the cast. All were wearing masks and many had a prop of some sort to deal with whilst trying to stay upright. It took a lot of rehearsing to get this right but the result was worth it. I only recently got to see this when the show was aired on Itv. I have no doubt it will be on again around Christmas for those who want to catch it again. Or you could buy the DVD of course!
When you do watch it, try to picture what is going on behind the big top that Chris and Jayne erect. As soon as this was in place, 2 wardrobe staff, 3 stage managers, 2 crew and an electrician along with the cast rushed forward and got into position. As the backstage crew have to walk on the ice we were issued with some grippers. These were fabulous, a rubber over shoe with spikes that enabled you to walk and not slip on the ice.
As the cast entered the arena through the curtain, Chris and Jayne would slip in the side. I would help them remove some of their costumes and their masks. Then Matt Evers would enter with a huge bass drum that i would take from him. stage management would remove the Pyrotechnics from Chris Fountain's legs. His rocket man costume always got an ooh. Then everyone would discard their masks throwing them under the curtain. We would all scrabble about trying to count that we had collected them all, not easy as you are looking for a small white thing on a white surface. Then i would race off carrying a huge basket of props, mask and the big bass drum. To be still on stage when the curtain was removed or to have left something behind would have been very unprofessional not to mention embarrassing.
Time for a breather you may think, oh no everyone excited the stage and had to be quick changed into their first outfits for the introductions. I have said this before but it is true that the changes have to be as choreographed as the routines, wardrobe, hair and make-up and the artistes working together at speed.
One of my favourite parts of the opening was the horses but more on those in a few days time...