Ice Age

Ice Age is a life-affirming show celebrating and bringing much-needed visibility to what disabled people can achieve as performers on stage despite being confined to a wheelchair. Choreographed by visually-impaired Taiwanese Chung-an Chang of Resident Island Dance Theatre and disabled co-choreographer and dancer Maylis Arrabit, mentored by Morag Deyes with support from Jih-Wen Yeh from Step Out Arts, it explores the physical and emotional stresses of being confined to a wheelchair and the intimate relationship with two carers (standing dancers), who may also suffer equal stress and which at times leads to abuse.

Bringing much-needed visibility to what disabled people can achieve as performers

Yu-Cheng Cheng is adept at suggesting the boredom of how to fill an average day, once he’s tidied his room and sits twiddling his fingers. He then suffers the undignified and painful manhandling by his carers, performed by dancers, Shih-yun Fang and Yi-chen Juan, as they administer medicine and physiotherapy before he can relax again twiddling his fingers. He speaks to the audience in Taiwanese, his words translated into English on a screen at the back. Meanwhile Maylis Arrabit who speaks in French, again translated on the screen, only thinks about the plane tree outside her window. It is a skilful balance of volubility and the taciturn.

At first we feel sympathy for the carers whose life is so confined and can understand, though not condone, how they torment Yu-cheng Cheng, the male wheelchair user, pulling his hair until the female carer loses her self-control and strikes Arrabit, the woman at her mercy. The honesty of including this shocking and sad reality is to be commended.

The use of space by the circling wheelchair users, their skill in whizzing round or letting the chairs lean back (with the help of the carers/dancers) is impressive. Light and shadow play a great part in creating the atmosphere as does the music composed by Thomas William Hill.

Developed via zoom during Covid, the show also expresses the isolation caused by lockdown, mirroring the experience of life as a disabled person but also the joy of reunion now that the company can meet in the flesh. This joy is also mirrored in the disabled couple’s eventual romantic relationship. Watching the rising sun together is a lovely, uplifting end to the performance.

It does go on a little too long but it is ultimately a moving show and will speak to anyone in a similar situation.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by Stephanie Green

Festival Theatre

Jungle Book reimagined

★★★
Festival Theatre

Coppélia

★★★★★
King's Theatre

ROOM

★★
Playfair Library, Old College / Playfair Library, Old College, South Bridge

The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart

★★★★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Taiwan Season: Light of Life

★★★★
Summerhall

Taiwan Season: Tomato

★★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Ice Age is a new international inclusive choreographic collaboration between visually impaired choreographer Chang Chung-An (Taiwan) and French disabled choreographer Maylis Arrabit. The piece explores the different ways that people support each other in their own cultural environments. Covid-19 has brought the world to a standstill and has impacted every country differently. It evokes the coexistence between two parallel realities, separated by space-time and at the same time, united by it. Then, an action, a gesture and contemplation are very meaningful. We look forward to our reunion in the same space and time this summer.

Most Popular See More

Frozen the Musical

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets