The first time Snow White comes barreling by rinkside in a long dress, one sinewy leg out behind her and the other so far forward she practically has to kiss her shin with those ruby lips to stay up, it’s hard not to think, isn’t this silly? But by the time the latest edition of Walt Disney’s World on Ice (tickets $10.50 to $32.50, touring nationwide; in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey through Thanksgiving) finishes ritually reenacting Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the spectacle doesn’t feel like a trans-medium stretch at all.
That’s no small trick, considering that the mostly gentle, lyrical Snow doesn’t easily lend itself to the three-ring pacing and thundering rock-arena sonics it gets here. Since the primitive quality of 1937 microphones means that the still-wonderful tunes and dialogue in the soundtrack now have a tinnily antique tone, the producers couldn’t simply pipe in the original music and vocals the way they have in past rink retreads. Instead, the Snow ensemble triple-Lutzes and lip-synchs to newly recorded tracks by so-so sound-alike actors. But who needs a Pavarotti to put over indestructible clap-alongs like ”The Dwarfs’ Yodel Song,” especially with two dozen skaters dressed as organ pipes gamely out-precisioning the Rockettes?
Lest moms groan at Snow’s dreams of the right prince to cook, clean, and hum for, the story line gets a reading-is-good-for-you wraparound, partly hosted by Disney’s newer, feistier heroines Belle, Ariel, and Princess Jasmine. Not that the pageant shortchanges action-seekers. An expertly danced evil queen goes out bellowing louder than a T. rex, plus The Lion King‘s Simba shows up for an opening ”Circle of Life” whirl. No doubt it’s a warm-up for his own show. But he could hardly rule the rink with more grace, wit, and sheer muscle than this Snow White. A-