Stars on Ice
Kurt in SOI
Creative Team

Chrysler Stars On Ice Review - Halifax, NS - April 16, 2000

written by Tina

When we first got to the arena, Louisa, Doug, Wendy and I waited outside to meet up with some people from the list, but after a while trying to scan the crowd for people we'd never met before, we gave up, and Wendy and I went to check out the souvenirs. They had a shirt for Kurt that they didn't have in the States, so I got that, as well as a picture of Kurt (a nice big shot of Raggy) and the cast picture, which looked a lot nicer than the one in the States. When I asked for the Kurt Browning shirt, the guy handed me the Scott Hamilton one and I had to correct him - I figured that wouldn't happen in Canada! =)

We went to find our seats - Row F, left of center ice, and soon after we sat down, Susan from the list waved us over, so I went to talk to her for a while. Finally we were all settled in our seats, my (borrowed) digital camera was out and waiting to be used, and we were looking around the arena when we spotted Sonia sitting the next section over, between the actual seats - they put up a row of seats, I think, for people affiliated with cast and crew 'cause we saw Doug Ladret there later. I didn't want to stare because she happened to look back when I was trying to see if she was really Sonia, and looked at me, and I quickly looked away. That's how I missed the fact that Kurt came out there with clown nose on. Wendy says that Kurt gave Sonia a kiss (hampered by the nose), and I turned around just as he straightened up. He goofed off for a while, walking up and down that section, and then climbing up to stand on the wall between that row and the on-ice seats beyond. After tightroping on the boards, he kind of fell over onto the set of boards behind where Sonia was sitting (she was in the kind of penalty box area so there were boards behind and in front of her). Then he did some pushups right there, and then got down. Somewhere along the line, he stole this little girl's popcorn and was eating it, and looking kind of like "ha ha I have your popcorn".. she stood up, and suddenly took off after him... he got this uh-oh! look on his face and took off running and went down the aisle and out somewhere... there was a little break and then the girl returned with her popcorn, and Kurt in pursuit, waving his arms and pantomiming beating his fists at her. He goofed off in that spot, and then slid on his stomach over the boards, head first between two people in the on-ice seats, over into the on-ice section. He then started playing around with the audience members. He pulled up one person, turned her around and pretended to pose with her, and then sat her down, and pulled up someone else. While he was wandering down the boards, this girl jumped on him, and he let out this loud yelp. She clung to him for a while - he didn't hug her back - and he looked bewildered, kind of looking this way and that.. finally she let go of him and another girl ran all the way down and stood next to him and got her picture taken with him.. then she held out her program and asked for an autograph but he shook his head - still in character. Somehow he got rid of these people, and then proceeded to play shuffle the audience - pulling up one audience member, quickly walking them down the ice and then suddenly pulling up another audience member, shoving the first one into the seat, and then pulling the other one behind him to another seat - he probably mixed up about 4-5 people this way, and then took one girl all the way down to the corner, deposited her there and grabbed an usher and took her up the stairs quite a ways. I lost track of him up there but suddenly he was coming back down the stairs with someone's long coat over the usher's head and pulling her along and straight onto the ice (he was wearing skate guards) but she pulled away before they got on the ice, and Kurt got almost a 1/4 way down the ice before looking and noticing he had an empty coat. Then he turned around and he was standing there in his skate guards... he faced the end of the rink and held out his hand to an audience member, asking for help - she just sat there - so he held out his hand again more insistently - she still refused to move - finally he was like "no i really mean it! come over here and pull me in!" (not verbally) holding his hand out very firmly and insistently, before she finally stood up and pulled him in. He then went along the side of the ice looking for the owner of the jacket before he remembered that it belonged to someone up in the corner, went up the stairs and returned it, but not without shuffling around a few more audience members. He then came back onto the ice and actually made it about 1/2 way down the ice on ihs skate guards, shuffling along with little steps and stuff, before crawling the rest of the way to his satchel sitting on the ice. He picked it up, opened it, went through his whole routine of sticking his head in it, and starting the music, before turning around and walking off with it as the other skaters started in for the opening number.

I still really enjoy this opening number, though I spent way too much time trying to take pictures with my digital camera - I knew it could take 300 pictures so I was going a bit nuts with it. I noticed almost right away that the crowd was much more enthusiastic than the American one, cheering loudly as each skater was announced. They announced Kurt last (I don't know how he changes so fast!) to wild cheers, and then the opening number began for real. I can't remember much in the way of detail about this number (the Kurt encounter afterward kind of took over my memory banks), but it was really upbeat and fun... I took a picture of each skater as they were announced again, taking a bow at center ice before going off... the part after this - the medley of stuff from Bailamos to the Demain Demain song and the last one (we didn't get an insert in our programs because Jodi had given us programs the night before and the guy selling the programs wouldn't give us an insert without us buying the whole program) seemed longer and better, actually, than the US tour.

As the opening number ended, Scott was the last skater on the ice and as he took his bows, Kurt came out with his satchel and walked along the ice. Hearing the cheers, he acted like they were for him, all smiling and pointing to himself and doing little half bows... as in the US tour, he started skating past Scott, who grabbed onto the other handle of the satchel and stopped him. They went through their whole routine of Scott looking in Kurt's bag and Kurt acting goofy... Scott took a purple shirt out of the bag, the lights dimmed, and we saw Scott pulling Kurt's clown pants and shirt of him in one move - they actually were tearaways that resembled his usual clown outfit - though it got stuck for a bit. Finally Scott skated off and Kurt put on the purple shirt as the strains of Crash Into Me started up. I watched a lot of this program through a viewfinder, but I have to say that I really loved it. It was a GREAT program and Kurt really did ooze... the choreography was great for the music as well. Towards the middle-end, there was a section where Dave Matthews kept singing "Crash...into me" and at every "crash", Kurt did a sort of one foot slide towards a different section of the seats. He did some nice jumps (have no idea what they were), some leg kicks (more like leg up and over?) at "hike up your skirt a little more", a spiral, and some nice spins that were a bit faster than they sometimes have been in the past. The audience ate up the program though only some of us gave him a standing ovation (the on-ice people were giving practically everyone standing ovations).

After Kurt came Josee, skating to a cute song that sounded kind of Europeany. I guess we'll find out what it was next week. It was a cute number, and Josee is really pretty in person.

Then Brian skated to ...not Ebb Tide..but the other song? Something about lovers walking in the park, etc. I really enjoyed watching Brian skate - I was very impressed by him. He has a very easy way with the audience, just a generally great demeanor, and he went for all his jumps, though he may have doubled a few... though I hear he landed a triple axel?

The spotlight went to Kurt, who was sitting on the boards at the end... he took a rose out of his satchel and gave it to some lady behind him... I'm not sure what happened at this point because they were too far away, but suddenly Kurt fell over, like he fainted or something - maybe she gave him a kiss? While he was still lying there, the lights came up over the ice to reveal a street lamp, Lloyd sitting on a park bench, and Isabelle standing a ways away. Before the spotlight went down on Kurt, we saw him pop his head up again and lean on the boards shaking his head or something at the woman.

Brasseur & Eisler's number seemed to be about friends through the years even though lots of things have changed... it was a kind of slow, more tender number... they still did a lot of lifts and tricks, but the overall feeling was more sentimental. It was a nice program.

Kurt came out again when the lights were down with his flashlight in hand, looking for his satchel (though this time he didn't snatch anyone's purse), came around, and then discovered his satchel, with a happy yelp, picked up the bag, and suddenly noticed Steven Cousins and Todd Sand holding Tara on their shoulders for Genie in a Bottle. He opened the bag to let out all this smoke, and generally acted all goofy around her... he skated behind them, they dropped off Tara and then came back to get him. I noticed there seemed to be less of him skating away from them frantically - they picked him up almost immediately.

Tara's Genie in a Bottle was pretty much as it was in the States. I don't remember too much about it. I think her dancing might have improved a bit, and she connected with the audience well.

Then Scott came out on the ice for Call Me Al and the whole place erupted with cheers and applause. He completely skated to the audience, doing all the steps and stuff well though he fell twice, each on a jump attempt. After falling he mostly doubled the rest of his jumps except for the last one. Still, the audience loved him and gave him a standing ovation. Then Josee, Kurt, Steven, and Brian came out...Josee went to stand on the side of the ice, and Kurt and Steven assumed their poses like the one in the US tour with Kurt leaning on Steven, only Brian tried to get over there too, and Kurt kind of pushed him away and resumed his position. When the music started, and Kurt fell over because Steven moved, it was Brian who caught him, and instead of just leapfrogging Steven, he leapfrogged the two of them in a row. Then he and Steven are off down the ice, with Brian trying to join in, sliding under Steven's leg when Kurt grabbed it and before Steven slid to the ice. Quite frankly Brian's role in this wasn't very clear - he was sort of the semi-third wheel while Scott was a full-fledged third wheel. Brian went for a jump (couldn't see what it was), landed it, and Kurt and Steven threw up their arms kind of in a cheer. Scott and Brian took off for this extended synchronized footwork sequence, while Steven and Kurt stood on the other end and watched them, kind of bemused. Then when Scott and Brian finished, Kurt and Steven kind of shrugged and then started their little leg shake thing down the ice... when they reached the end, they did a three way high five and left the ice together, leaving Scott standing on the ice alone. Then Sounds of Silence came on, and Scott skated to a little while while the two pairs came out and did lifts down the side of the ice before the spotlights came on them. There were too many pairs on the ice at the same time (two!) and Scott as well so I didn't really know who to watch but they all hit a variety of lifts (except for Scott). Then they went off the ice, and a different Simon and Garfunkel song came on and Shae-Lynn Bourne (who was wearing a shirt that looked very very similar to my Limited shirt - black on bottom with grey stripe and white on top) and Victor Kraatz came out and did a beautiful number together - kind of similar in feeling to Kristi's Bridge Over Troubled Water though not quite as "hopeful". Then Kurt, Josee, Steven, and Brian came out and started assuming all the photo poses with Shae-Lynn and Victor. They skated around and then were joined by the two pairs. By this time the ice felt kind of cluttered because I'm not used to seeing that many skaters for this number. At one point they did have the pairs and the dance team standing still while the other five skaters went down the ice and did their single axels like in the US number - at this point they were much more in sync then when all 11 skaters tried to skate together. Still, it was quite nice.

Intermission and I'm flipping frantically through my digital photos, deleting those which didn't come out at all (when they turned off the lights just as I took the picture, etc). Because there were already about 190 of these, it took a while. Then we talked to Louisa for a bit before running back to our seats (She was on-ice). They shoved the zebra couch out and I started snapping pictures of Kurt in his various sleeping poses, until I realized that I didn't have that many pictures. He did his roll-over the back of the couch thing, and Steven and Lulu came out as Kurt stuck his face in one of the holes in the couch and watched them. While they were "neckihg" on the couch, Kurt was goofing around behind them - he peered at them and then ducked down again. Then he sat with his back to them, kind of looking like - I shouldn't look! before standing up and looking at them... then he did the kind of naughty naughty! gesture at them and then went around behind and maybe made a face... then some of the other skaters started coming out - Todd Sand with Shae-Lynn, and then Brian Orser and Lloyd Eisler came out. Kurt was trying to get a kiss from Shae-Lynn since she was kissing all the other guys, but didn't get one... he looked kind of disappointed.. then he tried to get some more attention, started dancing very geekily in front of them.. turned around, still didn't have their attention and waved at them... finally he gave up and started walking off the ice (he was in shoes the whole time) when he ran into Todd Sand and Lloyd Eisler who took him by the hands and flung him towards the curtains - he glided on his shoes towards the curtains and out, looking off balance.

I really enjoy Club AC b/c it's really funny to see those four skaters trying out their homeboy moves... and they really seemed into it. Lloyd Eisler and Brian Orser in particular seemed to really get into it. Tara also seems to be having a blast and it's just a really fun number to watch.

Then Steven started his number...and I was struck again by what a great smile he has - there's such a big contrast between when he turns that smile on and when he doesn't. This number was very fun and very upbeat, and he played it to the hilt. Then Lu Lu started her number, rejecting Steven all over the place - he was really funny. At one point right after she rejected him yet again, he turned towards the audience with this kind of pitiful look on his face and someone offered him their popcorn. He kind of shrugged, took a piece, popped it in his mouth, and kept going. Lu Lu dances quite well though she did single all her axels and doubled most of her other jumps... Then Shae-Lynn got up to do kristi's role (which I found her much more convincing in), kind of encouraging her to vamp and they play with Steven a bit, leading him around and then dumping him on the ground... they finally end with him tied to the couch.

The spotlight went to Kurt, who was (in a dignified clown sort of way) scootering his way around the ice... lots of laughter and cheers here... then the lights went down on him and he scooted out.

Then Josee came out in this pink dress and skated to a song with some French lyrics and something about she's the one. She had a very nice spread eagle and Ina Bauer, and a nice spread eagle in front of us. It was very pretty and graceful and I can't remember at all anything else that happened. (told you my memory was getting wiped!)

We were looking at the wrong end of the ice when we heard Baby did a Bad bad thing come on, and we remembered from dress rehearsal that Meno and Sand started all the way at the other end of the ice, so we quickly transferred our attention that way. Somehow, I don't think the program was as effective as the first time I saw it - I noticed that Todd Sand isn't really convincing when he's trying to do emotional gestures. Also, they don't connect as well with the audience as a lot of the other skaters, and Jenni Meno's smile looked kind of plastic.

After Meno and Sand got off the ice, Kurt came out and started goofing around in the middle of the ice. Tara came out after him with his satchel, but he didn't notice her at all, continuing to goof off, juggling his nose, flexing his muscles, etc... while Tara skated around him to He's Got a Way (one of these days I will watch her, but it's not happened yet)... he sticks his hands into his pockets, and suddenly yelps when he "accidentally" pulls the pants apart... he looks at it, confused, and then pulls it off, and happily puts it on as a jacket... I have to say, I'm kind of impressed at Kurt's ability to look like he completely doesn't see Tara, even when she's right in front of him. He skates down the ice with the pants/jacket on, and them comes to a wire hanging over the ice, takes off the jacket and hangs it on it...when it suddenly is pulled up out of his reach and he's left looking up after it. Tara's still trying to get his attention at this point, but he just wanders back down the ice, still goofing off, to go to squat down at center ice. Then Tara and Kurt's duet comes on, she skates up to him, and he notices her, finally.. they go through their whole cute kids falling in love thing... the two of them work really well off of each other, but this number was much like it was in the States so I won't go into further detail...

Shae-Lynn and Victor then appeared on the ice for their number, which was a pretty hot, sexy one - Victor's wearing these suspenders and Shae-Lynn is behind him... she pulls on one of them...and then snaps it, causing him to skate after her.,..the number was Mack the Knife, and they really really utilized the music well... I really enjoyed this. Bourne & Kraatz really are beautiful skaters.

Brian Orser came out to skate to Ebb Tide, which I think is a wonderful program for him. He's not an out-and-out extroverted skater like Scott and Kurt but he has a wonderful, easy connection with the audience. He's very enjoyable to watch...

Then...whew! Turn up the energy in the arena about 100 times for Brasseur & Eisler's We Like to Party number.. for some reason I thought I might quickly go through my pictures to delete some and make room for more, but then I looked up and B&E were parked right in front of us doing all these dance moves, and then Lloyd picked up Isabelle and started windmilling her around his head and I right away started snapping pictures again.. This number is incredibly energetic and had the whole crowd clapping along... they were very on, hitting all these lifts and throws and spins... lots of fun! They got a major standing ovation for this one...

Then Tara came out to do American Woman and you'll have to forgive me because I spent her entire number trying to delete pictures and hardly looked up to watch her at all... seemed like she got a good response from the crowd though...

Then Scott comes running out for Don Quixote... I didn't really like this program the first time I saw it on TV but in person it's really funny... Scott is a master at the self-aware parody, and this number was full of that. I do think it was similar to his classical-parody program of a few years back, but it was still fun to watch... when he went swinging up on a rope over the audience, all the audience members there cringed and ducked... =)

Finally...the moment we were waiting for... Kurt!!! Play that Funky Music... ooh....he was really on yet again - stumbled once, I think, but incorporated it right into his footwork really well. And he went and landed the triple axel!!! It was beautiful! I let out this huge scream (not quite as loud as in Providence), all the time clicking away at my camera (though no, I didn't get a picture of the jump)... His dancing was really on, and the jumps... the spins even seemed faster than they have been for a while...this was such a great program...

Odd thing was after this program, Kurt's satchel gets shoved out on the ice again, and Kurt goes over to it... he points at it first while shrugging at the audience, like "that again?", and then picks it up... and puts it down again... he goes through the whole arm motion he used to do from the top of the tunnel to present What a Wonderful World... the odd thing is that he's still wearing his Funky Music outfit, so it's not quite the muse, and the effect is a bit odd. Both Wendy and I thought that they should have gotten someone else to do it or something...

Then time for the finale! I still love this finale... and it looked a lot cleaner than in the dress rehearsal. Some of the parts were rearranged - where Kurt used to do footwork out to join Tara, Brian Orser did (I think Kurt was still changing at this point), and where Ilia and Katia normally skate, Kurt and Josee skated... this time it seems that Josee filled a lot of Katia's roles and Shae-Lynn did Kristi's. Guess they didn't have enough female skaters to replace so Shae-Lynn did a bunch of singles stuff =). And since he hadn't come out yet, Kurt didn't lift anyone on his shoulder around the rink. Parts of this finale are confusing, where you can't really follow anyone in particular, but what happened over and over was that everyone was paired, singles skaters as well, and doing various things together all over the ice. At the end of the finale, after the initial bows and while the skaters were shaking hands, Kurt grabbed the mic and said something about it being a great crowd, they had a great time, and that they'll see us next year! Then final bows and the show was over...

BTW I think Sonia left rather early - we didn't really see her after Kurt's first program. At various other points we saw Doug Ladret sitting there and some other people. That particular row had the door to behind the stands so I think the crew and various other associated people went in and out of there.

Interested in pictures? Check out this page for some of the pics I took with my digicam.