Nutcracker on Ice, Drury Lane Theatre Evergreen Park, and Hollywood on Ice, Drury Lane Theatre Evergreen Park. The children's show Nutcracker on Ice suffers from a failure to trust its material. Instead of relying on Tchaikovsky and the story of Clara's dream trip to the Land of Toys, Marc Robin has cluttered up his show with elements from Pinocchio and The Wizard of Oz and original songs that suffer by comparison to Sesame Street, let alone the world's most durable musical classic. The audience, all under two feet tall, seemed to agree: enthralled when there was skating to "Waltz of the Sugar Plum Fairies," distracted during the unfolding of the overcomplicated plot. Efforts at adult jokes are ill considered: must the evil Mouse King be given the mannerisms of a flaming gay man?
By contrast the adult Hollywood on Ice suffers mostly from a failure to trust its best performers, who provide an astonishing illusion of championship skating in the tiny Drury Lane arena: there's literally no room for error when skaters must arrest their slides four inches from the front row. That intimacy gives the show its kick--a single stagehand trailing a wet rag grooms the ice at intermission--but also its weird flavor. With its leggy chorines, baggy-pants comic, audience participation, and impressionist-singer who channels George Burns and Liberace and then says, "Seriously, though...," this flashy casino affair should be called "Vegas on Ice." But in such a tiny space it winds up bearing the same relation to a Vegas extravaganza that a flea circus does to a circus.
The show is also too long by a good quarter--there are more than 20 movie-musical numbers (hence the "Hollywood"). Some performers, though, make their pieces feel too short. "Circus Boy" Bobby Hunt is an able knife juggler with enough charm to carry the entire show. And romantic duets by the exceptional team of Jared Guzman and Cindy Davis evoke the most delightful aspects of the Winter Olympics couples competition. Look for other opportunities to see these performers, however--unless you're very stoned or a true connoisseur of irony, Hollywood on Ice isn't worth your time.