Tuesday, January 28

Cover feature: Tropicana, The Passion Tour

- December 23, 2011

Holiday On Ice brings together the masterful music of Barry Manilow and the ice dance excellence of Robin Cousins MBE
Regular readers of Latest 7 will already know that we all love Holiday On Ice. For years now we have been privileged enough to get an early view of the forthcoming production and this year is no different. We have already been out to Berlin to catch Tropicana before it arrives at the Brighton Centre in January 2012.
Holiday On Ice is a much-loved international institution, over the years entertaining millions of fans worldwide and, in doing so, becoming one of the largest entertainment organisations in the world.

HOI, as they are known, not only attracts massive audiences, it also attracts the cream of the ice dance world. Every competing skating star is aware of the company and, as a consequence, when casting their massive productions, the company are able to cast the very best ice dance stars.
A long standing creative partnership
And this is how HOI and Brighton’s own Robin Cousins have come together to form a long-standing performing and creative partnership that has led to some of their best shows of the last few decades. Robin came to fame when he won Olympic Gold in 1980 at Lake Placid in the USA. It was the competitive pinnacle of a career that embraced winning the European Championship in the same year as well as three other world medals and four times as British National Champion.
After retiring from competitive skating he appeared in many ice shows, some of his own productions and others for other companies as
well as appearing off ice in West End productions. The logical progression for Robin though was choreography and from there to direction. With HOI he has been given the opportunity to develop these skills and is now one of the most highly respected choreographers and directors for ice spectaculars.

Pushing boundaries
Anyone who has followed Robin’s career will know that he is one for pushing boundaries, always wanting to take the form one step further, from his amazing back flips to his reinvention of the Holiday On Ice format.
In his hands, a HOI show is a far more cohesive entertainment with a core theme, consistent design concepts and music too. The company too are equally committed to excellence and to seeking new and better ways to do things. The coming show uses amazing GPS supported lighting that enable, through computers and satellite technology, each of the principle dancers to have a fully automated follow spotlight through the show. This alone is an advance in technology which HOI has championed and will no doubt impact on the way lighting designers work for years to come.

The Manilow connection
So on to Tropicana, a show centred on the music of Barry Manilow. Barry Manilow is one of the greatest singer songwriters of the last 50 years with an enormous catalogue of songs, most of which have been international hits. So how did this show come about. It was through working together on a TV special that Cousins and Manilow met and Robin was able to voice his admiration for his work. Manilow, after much discussion, agreed in principle that Robin could create a show based around a selection of songs, and once he was happy Manilow granted full permission. The result is an evening of pure joy.
Copacabana extravaganza
So how does Tropicana compare to other HOI shows? Well, there is of course the full, sparkling glamour that one has come to expect: feathers, sequins and gold lamé. But for the first time the set is totally state-of-the-art with a vast LED screen forming a vast backdrop onto which incredible graphics, animations and live footage are screened.
This is a massive feat of timing too as throughout the show the live skating and the imagery are not only synchronized but interactive. Skaters appear on screen, a moment later to be launched through small entrances onto the live ice. It’s a breathtaking effect that has audiences on the edge of their seats.
There is plenty of the glitz and glamour that one has come to love and expect form an HOI ice spectacular too. The score, which incorporates some of Barry Manilow’s greatest hits, also has new songs written by Robin Cousins, who is a talented songwriter himself.
The technology and artistry combined in Tropicana are a guarantee for a great night out for the whole family. Dedicated followers of HOI will love this show. Barry Manilow fans will love the powerful and emotional interpretations of his work by Robin Cousins and his team, and newcomers to both will simply have one of the best nights out that one could hope to have.

Tropicana – The Passion Tour, is on at The Brighton Centre from Friday 13–Sunday 29 January 2012. Tickets are available from www.brightoncentre.co.uk or from the box office on 0844 847 1538.


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