Take your favourite characters from the Ice Age franchise of children’s movies, add an actual ice-skating rink and some amazing aerial acrobatics and you have the recipe for the captivating show that is Ice Age Live! A Mammoth Adventure.
A live spin-off of the much-loved movies, it is an arena ice spectacular that combines ice-skating, puppetry, aerial work and video on a huge screen behind the moveable stage and ice rink which is well used to set the scene.
I took my three-year-old son and six-year-old daughter along to the show at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre with little knowledge about what to expect, other than one over-excited little fan.
My son is an avid Ice Age watcher – on repeat, over and over again – my daughter not so much.
Yet despite being hesitant to admit that she might actually enjoy the performance – as you do when you’re six going on sixteen – my daughter ended up being the one most excited when we walked out of the arena.
Turns out that the show tells a new story in which Manny the wool mammoth, Sid the motor-mouthed sloth and Diego the sabre-toothed tiger set out on a journey to rescue young mammoth Peaches when she is kidnapped by an evil bird called Shadow and his crew of three vulture-like henchmen.
Helped by the acorn-loving squirrel Scrat, they have all kinds of adventures, including discovering an enchanted garden and surviving an avalanche.
My son was a little perplexed about the “angry birdies” which he was adamant weren’t part of any Ice Age film he had enjoyed… for about the hundredth time.
True they are new characters, but that only added to the fun and interest of the show, as while many of the character’s costumes are remarkably true to the original animations, the addition of new characters keeps the show’s storyline exciting.
Manny, Sid, Scrat and Diego all look as close to their animated counter-parts as you could hope for given they’ve been brought to life in life-sized puppet form.
Manny is a huge, lumbering 4m-tall puppet controlled by two puppeteers inside him, while Sid and Scrat are played by actors in body suits, yet their heads have motorised eyes and mouths which are linked to the soundtrack so they lip-synch accurately.
Those lucky enough to be sat around the edges of the ice rink got to enjoy the costumes up close, as many of the characters went up and interacted with members of the audience at different stages throughout the show.
We especially loved how some of the characters’ elaborate costumes enabled them to effectively ‘step out’ of the life-sized versions of their costumes to reveal more streamlined versions underneath.
This is when the real magic of the show happens, as the ‘actors’ are then able to whizz around the ice or fly up in the air in dazzling displays of skill that you just don’t see in your average kids’ stage show.
For example, Shadow could step out of his heavy looking wings and helmet to reveal a tightly fitting body suit that enabled him to truly soar above the ice rink and moveable stage.
It was these mini-performances by the talented ice skaters and aerial acrobats which quickly won over Miss 6, and had myself and her father equally enrapt with the show.
As while the storyline and loveable characters ensure the charm of the Ice Age franchise is retained for younger fans, the inclusion of displays of such strength and precision will win over any older siblings or parents who may be a tiny bit jaded from watching the movies for the 600th time.