Review: Dancing on Ice, The Final Tour at Newcastle Arena, 05/04/14.

Since its launch in 2006, I have been a huge fan of ‘Dancing on Ice’. So much so that every time I watched the TV show, I’d find myself ‘skating’ on the kitchen floor in my socks trying to recreate the magic.

I’ve been lucky enough to see the show live on at least four occasions (I’m thirty now, the old memory isn’t as good as it used to be, ok?) however, with the introduction of the insanely annoying Louie Spence  who took over from Jason Gardiner as a judge in 2012, I stopped watching the TV show. Despite all the glitz and the glamour (as well as the ever-present threat of danger – headbanger, anyone?), I just could not bear to watch the show with that insufferable eejit on it. Louie Spence tried to make the show all about him – and it shouldn’t have been.

However, when I found out that this year would be the final series, I tuned in. I was relieved to see Jason Gardiner back on the panel (although I know Spence was canned after just one season) and, despite his sometimes cruel comments, Jason’s feedback was delivered in a way that kept the focus on the skaters and how to improve their performance.

And so it ended with Ray Quinn being crowned ‘Champion of Champions’ just a few weeks ago. Now, the show is on the road for its final goodbye.

The seats we were allocated were in the Gods, with a limited view (despite no warning of this on the ticket website) and the steward I spoke to was unwilling to assist so I feel that our enjoyment of the first act was somewhat limited. However, it’s with all my heart that I thank the very kind lady who informed us about empty seats with a far better view beside her and her daughter. They were great company and my mum and I enjoyed the second half tremendously.

It’s interesting to see how the live show has changed over the years. We saw it the first time they came on tour in 2007 but, over the years, it has evolved into a slicker, more impressive show with bigger effects and better costumes. This year, Torvill and Dean not only skated this year but acted as comperes throughout the first section of the show, interviewing skating stars as well as taking comments from the Ice Panel. I must say, though, I find the judges redundant on the live tour – I’d prefer less chat and more skating.

That’s why, for me, the second half was far better. I love that, on the tour, the audience not only get to see show favourites like Ray Quinn and Beth Tweddle but they’re treated to numbers by the professional skaters. The pro sections are always my favourite part of the show. However, someone else stole my heart last night: Joe Pasquale. OK, he’s a train wreck – he managed to fall several times during the show and I’m not entirely convinced the falls were on purpose for laughs – but he came onto the ice alone during the second half and did a Skating for Beginners lesson. He was hilarious and wasn’t afraid to take the mick out of himself. And, I must say, he skates better than I ever could.

The curtain fell following a performance of Bolero by Torvill and Dean and it was with tears in my eyes that I left Newcastle Arena last night, I am so sad to see this wonderful show come to an end.

Vic x


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