Review: Holiday on Ice set for Peterborough as crowds are stunned by new skating masterpiece

Holiday on Ice, the most watched ice-skating show in the world, comes to Peterborough at the start of February. Rob Setchell watched the premiere of the company’s latest masterpiece, Energia.

“It’s going to be big,” said a beaming director before the show. And after two hours of sitting awe-struck, it proved an entirely accurate assessment.

Thousands of heads turn as an expectant crowd enters Birmingham’s NEC Arena, which is awash with light and looks more like a model of the solar system than an ice rink.

Holiday on Ice, which has dazzled more than 300 million spectators all over the world since its formation in 1943, is the most-watched ice show of all time.

And the reason for its popularity is immediately obvious. The skaters introduce themselves by coasting effortlessly around the ice, gliding in and out of a huge illuminated mirrorball planet, which descends from the roof.

The 32-strong cast, including clowns “Ein” and “Stein”, soon have the audience transfixed with twists, turns and lifts drawing rapturous applause.

Energia depicts the connecting energies of the universe, with powerful skating and enchanting music portraying the elements and planets in a mesmerising supernatural tale.

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The spectators’ attention is pulled across the set, as skaters tease the audience with sublime pair skating before astounding them with a stunning brand of gymnastics on ice.

Skaters are held suspended in mid-air by their partners, while others are spun around with their faces inches above the surface of the ice.

And it’s not just the acrobatics that keep the audience captivated. The set is a constantly changing blur of colour thanks to the remarkably eccentric costume design.

Skaters dressed as luminous sea horses flood the rink for a bizarre underwater scene representing Neptune before a scarlet-clad ‘Fire Goddess’ glides around the arena brandishing flaming batons.

A skater hurls himself through a hoop of fire before a surreal moment sees, what can only be described as, the entire cast dressed as zebras rotating in unison.

The ruthless precision of the cast is typified when skaters emerge from the interval on stilts. You might have thought that towering high over the ice might cause them to overbalance - but not a skate is put wrong.

There are moments of Bollywood-style celebration and tranquil figure skating before a stunning crescendo provokes deafening applause.

The quality of the skating alone is enough to thrill the aficionados in the crowd but Holiday on Ice is not that exclusive.

It combines expansive sets with awe-inspiring costumes, dazzling lighting with memorable sound and sublime pair skating with enthralling stunts. Even if you don’t know your Torvills from your Deans, you can’t help but admire a very pure form of all-out entertainment.

• Energia comes to Peterborough’s East of England Showground from 3-6 February. For tickets book online at or call the 24-hour ticket hotline on 0844 581 1315. For more information and prices, visit