26 Dec 2004 11:50:37
Trudi Marrapodi
Review: Kleenex Celebration on Ice (Canadian touring show), Dec. 18

Why did I go to Oshawa, Ontario, last Saturday, even though I had to take
an expensive cab ride back and forth from my local bus station, not to
mention transferring from a bus in Toronto to a train to Pickering and
from there to a bus to Oshawa? And risk freezing to death during the
return trip? What can I say. It was Brian Orser's birthday. I wanted to
see his touring show "Celebration on Ice," which is touring Canada this
winter and spring. And what better day to do it on, really?

The current pre-new-year version of Celebration on Ice is a
Christmas-themed show with a mix of regular and holiday cold spots,
anchored by Christmasy group numbers, opening and closing. Cast consists
of Brian, Kurt Browning, Shae-Lynn Bourne, Jennifer Robinson, Annie
Bellemare, Shawn Sawyer and a mix of local skaters in whatever city
they're performing in. In that way, it carries a nice whiff of the old
"Champions on Ice" tour the former CFSA used to tour around Canada in the
late '80s--using stars to bring people into the show, but also featuring
local competitive skaters and giving them a chance to be in the spotlight.

Opening of the show featured a tree, big gift boxes and Christmas music,
along with Brian and the "stars." Some tossing and catching of the boxes
went on, although this group proved not quite as skilled at catching the
boxes as the gang Brian toured with in Nutcracker on Ice years ago!
Everyone was dressed in the closing costumes from last year's "Holiday
Celebration on Ice" Disson Skating show--red pants/skirts and white
sweaters with red and neon-green stripes--and I must say that being in the
first on-ice row to the right of the tunnel entrance (aka the "butt
corner," as what you see most of up close is skaters' butts as they
back-crossover past you) had never been so intriguing once I realized
those red pants for the guys were made of a combination of stretch suede
and pleather. Mm-mm.

Brian then skated to a Frank Sinatra song called "I Believe," but not the
serious one that comes to mind first--a fun one about believing in Santa
Claus and so on. And he was his usual sprightly self.

Brian was followed by local ice dancers who had spliced together an
unlikely combination of "Hey Big Spender," "Too Busy Being Blue" and
"Pretty Woman," and skated like maybe novices, but were fun to watch.

Annie Bellemare was next, and I don't remember her music but she must have
been skating her short program as her number consisted of all the required
elements (with a solo triple lutz replacing the jump combination). Shawn
Sawyer then appeared and skated what can only be described as the Denise
Biellmann techno-aerobic-workout version of "Jingle Bells," complete with
his amazing spiral and split spin positions.

A semi-star of the show, Chantal LeFebvre and her new partner (whose name
escapes me, but he's Russian and almost a Canadian citizen) skated what
just may, for all I know, be their free dance. I think it's a bit risky
because the theme seems to be "A Couple of Homeys," at least it seemed
that way to me. The music is very "street," and how it will play with the
notoriously conservative judges I do not know, although it is interesting.

I can't remember now whether Jen Robinson skated before or after them or
somewhere else in the first half, but in any case her first number was
that "Tupelo" number she did in Kurt Browning's Gotta Skate this year. She
and Annie were both going for and, pretty much, hitting their triple
lutzes, so I have to give them credit.

Two really big hits of the show were the famous acrobats from the
Champions on Ice tour. People in the States know them pretty well from
that show, but Canada hasn't really been exposed to them that much that
I'm aware of, and they just eat 'em up. They did their "dancer and hockey
player" number from last year's COI tour, with all its amazing moves, and
got a huge ovation.

A local girl skater in a blue dress appeared and skated to some song about
"You and me were meant to fly." Then Shae-Lynn Bourne showed up with her
chiffon and skated her "Silent Night" number from Andrea Bocelli's show.

Kurt Browning's first number was "Time in a Bottle," and all I could think
when seeing it again (after having seen it on TV) was "Kurt, Kurt, you
HAVE to yank that pipe-fixing stuff out of Stars on Ice and put this in
instead." *This* is the showcase number for Kurt this season. This is what
shows him off the best, not all that toybox nonsense. I'm so glad I got to
see him skate it live, and his jumps were in pretty fine form, too.

The half closed with a little trio done by Jen, Shae and Annie to "The
Christmas Waltz" (Toni Tenille's version) and a performance by the local
synchro team, Whitby Ice Fyre. I probably would have enjoyed Ice Fyre's
performance more had I not been right on the ice and better able to see
the patterns of their movement rather than just being able to see more
easily when their lines were ragged or whatever. Overall, their
performance was fine and I have to give them credit for managing to keep
themselves squeezed onto the rink in a backward-moving formation at a
point where I was sure that someone's blades were going to hit the barrier
and a train wreck of mammoth proportions would ensue. They kept it going.
Good for them.

The second half began with Brian, Kurt and Shae just standing around at
the tunnel talking to the audience and soliciting questions. (To Kurt:
"Did you have a boy or a girl?" Kurt: "A boy. Well, actually, my wife had
a boy...") They attempted to share "Kleenex moments" with the audience.
Well, turned out this was all a way to kill time and distract Brian until
the others could bring out a bottle of champagne and cups and Kurt could
announce that they were celebrating their own "Kleenex moment" in the cast
because "Brian is 39 again." The audience sang "Happy Birthday" to him and
the others poured the champagne and passed it out to some people in the
front.

It wouldn't be a show with local flavor without some learn-to-skate tots,
so after they left the ice a group of Skate Canada CANSKATE skaters, teeny
little girls, appeared to stroke their way to center ice, do some small
tricks and skate back off again. This was all cleverly set up so that the
very smallest and least steady of them would get out to center ice and
back again by the time the rest of them were done skating out and doing
their little tricks. Cute.

Brian, Kurt, Shae and Jen appeared in red costumes and skated a little
group number to that Christmasy-lyricked-up version of Pachelbel's "Canon"
that someone came up with at some point, and then it was time for some
pair skaters from nearby Bowmanville. They skated to some sad Josh
Groban-likely song about feeling your presence even though you're gone,
and skated quite well too.

Annie Bellemare's second number was something French. I didn't recognize
it. Her jumps were pretty on, and she got in another triple lutz. Shawn
Sawyer appeared in a toreador-styled costume and did something with a kind
of a flamenco flavor. Chantal Lefebvre, attired in a sunglasses-worthy
hot-pink dress, and her partner did what must be their OD for the season,
a "Swing Kids" medley of "Sing, Sing, Sing" and "Bei Mir Bist Du Schon."

The acrobats were re-introduced as "the world's fastest acrobats,"
following which they did the world's sloooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwest
acrobatic number, as in, all the moves and tricks were performed with
extreme, even comical, sloooooowwwwwwwness. This had the effect of making
all the tricks that much more amazing--it's one thing for a guy to manage
to balance himself upside down on his head on the top of another guy's
head, but to do it by getting himself up there veeeeeeeery slowly, and
then stay up there a loooooong time...incredible. The crowd went nuts.

Brian's second number was one I had heard he did in Holiday Festival on
Ice (just like the first), "O Holy Night" (a Josh Groban version, I
believe...let's just give up, Josh Groban is to 2004-05 what Vanessa-Mae
was to 2000-01). Beautiful, and he even tried a triple toe, which he
doesn't do all that much anymore, although he stumbled out of it and
popped one of his axels. *sigh* Brian, doesn't matter. I just love to
watch you skate.

Jen Robinson's next number was something I hadn't seen before that I think
was called "Murder, He Says." It was nice, anyway. Good lutz again. Shae
did her "All That Jazz" number, now becoming famous for her bunny-hugging
with one guy in the audience and squirting another with a squirt gun.

Kurt's second number, as I had hoped it would be, was Barenaked Ladies'
"Green Christmas," the number he did for Holiday Festival on Ice (or so
I'm told). This was fun, too.

For the closing number, everyone dressed in various brightly colored
outfits and skated to Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You."
All in all, a fun show. And worth the trip, for an experience that put me
in the mood to have a great holiday.

The tour that hits Western Canada during the early part of next year
obviously jettisons the Christmasy stuff for a more generic theme. But I'd
say it's well worth going to if you're in the neighborhood of any of the
smaller cities it hits. One of the nice things about this tour is the
hominess it has in bringing big skaters to smaller towns, which generates
a lot of excitement, as does enabling local skaters to be part of it all.
Brian's had one sponsor or another over the past few years for shows like
these that he's choreographed and produced, and I just hope they keep
going.
--
Trudi
in the home of the official Crayola "Rock and Roll Raspberry" state


26 Dec 2004 20:56:29
Chana410
Re: Review: Kleenex Celebration on Ice (Canadian touring show), Dec. 18

>Why did I go to Oshawa, Ontario, last Saturday, even though I had to take
>an expensive cab ride back and forth from my local bus station, not to
>mention transferring from a bus in Toronto to a train to Pickering and
>from there to a bus to Oshawa? And risk freezing to death during the
>return trip? What can I say. It was
>Brian Orser's birthday.

Oh geez, she's STILL stalking him.

Poor Brian. He has stated that he's afraid of Turdi, and it's easy to see why.

~~~~Chana~~~~



27 Dec 2004 03:44:06
Gorilma98
Re: Review: Kleenex Celebration on Ice (Canadian touring show), Dec. 18

Trudi,

What a wonderful review! I'm glad you went too, so I could hear all about it.
Of now I wish I could have gone.

I always love watching Brian skate..with or without his triples. I don't think
anyone moves as well as he does on the ice. I always marvel at how not one note
of music goes unanswered in any of his programs.

The fact that he brings young skaters into these programs is icing on the cake.
Not only is the audience treated to elite skaters, but they get to see the
future coming up as well. And who better for these kids to learn from than
Brian Orser.!

Thanks for a wonderful review!
Chris


26 Dec 2004 23:22:21
Pat C
Re: Review: Kleenex Celebration on Ice (Canadian touring show), Dec. 18

On Sun, 26 Dec 2004 11:50:37 +0100, trudee@clarityconnect.competent
(Trudi Marrapodi) wrote:


>Jen Robinson's next number was something I hadn't seen before that I think
>was called "Murder, He Says." It was nice, anyway. Good lutz again. Shae
>did her "All That Jazz" number, now becoming famous for her bunny-hugging
>with one guy in the audience and squirting another with a squirt gun.

If it's the version I'm thinking of, it would be from the soundtrack
Mona Lisa smile and yes it's called Murder, He Says by Tori Amos. ;)

Catchy.

Pat C