Less is more when Cinderella is on ice

Leaving the Artscape Opera House on January 14 still dazzled by the daring, superb technique and confidence of the Imperial Ice Stars’ encore at the end of Cinderella on Ice, I was brought down to earth hearing a teenager on her phone complaining “…. they didn’t speak…. they just skated”.

I wondered if she’d put her brain – like her mobile – on silent mode throughout the show. What we were treated to was not skating.

It was astonishingly graceful dancing on ice with such nimble footwork that these stars looked as though they could have performed the Highland Fling with aplomb. They executed nerve-wrecking acrobatics. They flew upside down high above the stage.

They did pirouettes that left you giddy and came out of the multiple revolutions upright and ready to move on gracefully.

As for the frenetic tempo of everything in that final number, they should have been collectively fined for speeding.

Only a bird brain could think that these skaters could do what they do and convincingly mouth the words in English when most of the stars hail from Russia and the Ukraine.

I recall in the days of Durban’s skating legend Marjorie Chase that she did use a recorded English soundtrack while entertaining South African families to 32 pantomimes on ice– including 
Cinderella. I thought the effect looked and sounded phony as the words and lips were frequently out of synch.

International touring ice shows follow the example of ballet companies and carry a synopsis in the programme and let the appropriately chosen musical score and the performers, on ice or on pointe, tell their stories with their actions, reactions and movements.

Though most of the Imperial Ice Stars hail from Russia or the Ukraine there is one beautiful born and bred Capetonian – Fiona Kirk who, as the Gypsy Fortune Teller, warns Cinderella to be home at midnight.

Fiona started skating at the age of seven, went on to represent South Africa in many international competitions including the World Figure Skating Championships and for years was also a SA National Dance Champion.

In 2011 she joined the Imperial Ice Stars with her husband Volodymyr Khodakivskyy, an aerial performer.

Fiona joined his act 12 years ago and now the pair are known as the high-flying couple.

What’s in a name?

People often ask the question what’s in a name. A pal who is having fun reading 1 411 QI FACTS to knock you sideways (published by Faber & Faber) has learnt that in 2006 the most popular name for cows in, of all places, Switzerland, was Fiona!

Moreover a cow which has been given a name is likely to produce 450 more pints of milk a year than one without a name. This made her wonder if those named Fiona did particularly well – hence the popularity of the name.

Now I won’t feel insulted if a shop keeper calls me an old cow when I object at the cost of a product. They’d better not try to milk me.

Cyril is the name

It’s just as well that Cyril Ramaphosa has a short first name, otherwise newspaper sub-editors would struggle to fit his surname into a headline as it doesn’t shorten into an acceptable abbreviation. So it’s Cyril this and Cyril that all over the dailies.

As he recently spoke out against booing of politicians by those with opposing points of view, he could well consider extending this disapproval to the sporting world where opponents are often anything but sporting.

Think of international rugby and soccer matches where some sections of the spectators hiss and boo and do their best to disrupt a member of the opposing team taking an important kick for goal. Even nastier is when they use these tactics on their own countrymen.

As for the fuss that the cricketers make, all rushing to hug the bowler who has taken a wicket when he is actually being paid a large sum of money to do just that. I’m not suggesting a deadpan reaction to a good piece of fielding, an excellent wicket-taking ball, or a fine innings but sometimes the self-congratulating is definitely OTT.

Water woes

It’s distressing that the hospitality sector is being affected by water restrictions which from February will be tighter.
A broadcaster recently mentioned that some Western Cape B&Bs and guest houses have closed because they cannot cope with the daily washing of sheets, duvet covers and pillow slips.

Some hosts have stipulated that only guests who book for five days can be accommodated which cuts out the passing trade of those dropping in for a night. No mention was made of how those in the informal Airbnb rental business were coping.
I expect those with willing parents will schlep their dirty linen home to their mothers and aunts.

And how will hospitals cope if they don’t have a borehole or well-point on site? Lately I’ve been in and out of Constantiaberg Medi-Clinic visiting friends and been amazed at the turn-over of patients in a four-bed ward.

Each new arrival receives a freshly made bed. Obviously hospitals must be allowed a generous allowance of water, but what happens when the water runs out? That’s the scary thing….

Friends who have checked out the prices of 25-litre white water containers say they vary from R89 to a little over R100, plus about R60 for the tap. Nearer the time, those prices will soar…

Housework sucks

“I hate housework” said Joan Rivers. “You make the beds, do the dishes— and six months later you have to start all over again.”