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Stars on Ice Shining Their Brightest

Source: Ottawa Sun
Date: April 19, 2000
Author: Rob Brodie

Copyright 2000 Sun Media Corporation

Ten years old and still going strong, the skating troupe that is Stars On Ice hasn't lost its touch.

That special, oh-so-rare ability to reinvent itself over and over again, in ever-wondrous ways that always seem to please its loyal patrons.

To be something different ... that's the $ 64,000 question tour director Sandra Bezic dares to answer, each and every year, no matter how difficult it continues to get.

Darned if she and her gifted cast didn't cash in one more time last night. The 10th anniversary Canadian version of this tour, which played before about 14,000 at the Corel Centre, was a special occasion, to be sure. Indeed, Bezic and Co. may have pulled off their best show stopper ever.

That seemed to be the prevalent feeling among the audience members, most of whom walked out the doors into the chilly night with mostly smiles on their faces.

It was an audience that came out knowing who they wanted to see -- the tight-knit cast, remarkably, stays almost intact from year to year -- but not knowing exactly how they'd see their favourites.

But that's the magic of Stars On Ice, a seamless, classy production from start to finish. You come only knowing one thing -- that someone, or something, will force that grin across your face.

So what made 'em smile last night? Oh, let us count the ways.

Perhaps it was the, uh, fashion statement. Picture glittery outfits at one moment, or the biggest of purple feather boas draped around a glamorous Shae-Lynn Bourne at another. Or those way-cool skates Scott Hamilton strapped on at one point, which looked like a pair of black Converse high tops (you remember, those?). The accompanying red overalls ... let's not go there.

Nostalgia, you say? How about a Simon and Garfunkel medley, including that all-time party favourite, Cecilia? Not just a top-40 hits show, this one.

Maybe it was the high-flying antics of Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler, almost guaranteed to pull a crowd out of its seats. Or the backflips doled out liberally by Hamilton and Brian Orser.

Neatly tying the show together from beginning to end was perhaps the most lovable skating clown and muse of them all, Kurt Browning, red nose and all, who couldn't stop figuring out new ways to generate a few laughs. Although the crowd surely didn't complain when he switched to a pair of plastic-looking pants and gyrated to an old disco fave, Play That Funky Music.


We won't even get into trying to describe the ballerina outfit Hamilton pranced around the ice in, but the performance itself was boffo, to be sure. You really had to be there.

Old hits showed up in different guises, like a modernish Mack The Knife, by Bourne and Victor Kraatz, or a funked-up version of Louis Armstrong's What A Wonderful World, that closed the evening.

Hitting close to home doesn't hurt, either, when you're playing to an Ottawa crowd. Like that young American Woman, Tara Lipinski, flashing across the ice to an old Canadian band favourite, waving the red maple leaf when done.

'Course, you couldn't top the last words spoken this evening.

"Good luck, Senators!," Alberta boy Browning yelled at the crowd before the show closed for the night.

What a wonderful thought, you've gotta admit.

Kind of like this tour itself, which is aging quite nicely, thank you.