On Ice

This charming solo performance still feels like a work-in-progress

★★
theatre review | Read in About 2 minutes
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On Ice
Published 06 Aug 2017

Suzanne Grotenhuis once won €2000 in a Belgian theatre competition. The money was supposed to be for another theatre piece, but it costs way more than that to put on a show. She bought an ice rink instead. On Ice casually meanders from ice skating health and safety, through missions to Mars, before landing in a desert on the other side of the world. It’s only here, in the last 10 minutes of the piece, that the fragmented scenes finally come together and make sense.

While this is a satisfying climax, it takes too long to get to this point and then rushes the emotional vunerability. Grotenhuis exudes charm and warmth, though at points she takes on that newly-archetypal scatty, hipster girl persona that aims to be adorable, but doesn't suit the piece. Is the disorganised start to the show a deliberate extension of this character, or is the show still finding its feet? It’s frustrating in its ambiguity.

The set design is delightful. A thick sheet of plastic she intermittently sprays with something called Glice is her ice rink. She wears ice skates the entire time and mostly stays upright—a commendable feat. The border of the rink is made of a removal company’s cardboard boxes, and a giant inflatable ball, which looks absurd, but have eventually revealed meaning. The show is charming and funny with some touching moments of truthful performance, but still very much comes across as a work-in-progress.