We sent our web designer, Berno, to review Montecasino’s Show and Stay special offer. Here follows his feedback on the entire experience, from the show right through to breakfast the next morning.
Most people are familiar with the story of the Nutcracker Prince. Some of us might have seen a play or a ballet of this production. What I can safely say, is that you have never quite seen anything like the The Nutcracker on Ice. This mesmerising production makes use of elegantly choreographed ballet combined with precise ice dancing. With plays that dont make use of spoken words, I always find it interesting to see how the director and performers use the other elements available to convey emotion and effectively tell the story to the audience. Things that might seem obvious in retrospect had to be planned out in detail: the choice of music, the volume of the music, the different types of lighting methods, the tempo of an act as well as the special effects all contribute to help the performers tell the story. The Nutcracker on Ice uses each of these elements at its disposal to great effect. Tchaikovskys compositions seemed to have been created for this production. Fast, rhythmic, and in many ways perfect.
As for the Imperial Ice Stars whose reputation precedes them: they did not disappoint. It doesnt take long to see why these performers are viewed as the best in the business. From the opening act up until the end one cant help but notice their flawless technique. It was quite simply a master class in figure skating and dancing. I wont lie though, there was an odd slip here or there which is actually not a bad thing as it reminds the audience exactly how challenging it can be to perform a 720 degree spin, which has to be topped off with an inch-perfect landing. It has to be said that it takes a fair bit of guts to get up, dust yourself off, and then proceed to completing another triple axel jump and executing it flawlessly. The visual elements and props are used in a very creative and sometimes innovative way. One scene that comes to mind is the Land of Snowflakes scene where the dancers dresses quite literally light up in a dark scene. The performers even found time to work in a little bit of sleight of hand in the scene together with one or two David Copperfield type disappearing acts. This was topped off with some impressive fire dancing which showcased exactly how far the performers repertoire stretches.
Highlights of the show
- The opening scenes use of actual snowflakes falling to the stage was a very nice touch one that immediately draws you into the setting
- The aerial displays and wirework was particularly good as the dancers interchanged between ice and mid-air seamlessly
- The all-round set design was of a very high quality: One scene that stood out was the Mouse dance where the gifts underneath the Christmas tree and mouses hole are to scale with the actual mice dancing on the stage.
- The proper use of drapery to instantly change between different scenes ensured that the production was never interrupted.
As someone who isnt always fond of attending plays and theatres productions, I found this production to be really entertaining and in many ways, mesmerising. Theatre productions have to compete with other genres such as cinemas and satellite television, but based on tonights attendance, I cant see any reason for the theatre genre to worry. The place was packed with young and old who seemed to have enjoyed the show as much as I had (Im basing this assumption on the standing ovation the performers received after the final scene). Do yourself and your loved one(s) a favour go and see this show.
We stayed at The Palazzo Montecasino. As a Johannesburg resident, I was concerned that the hotel wouldnt be much of a breakaway and that it would also have that same frantic pace about it. Fortunately, this wasnt the case. As you enter the hotel two things come to mind: peace and quiet. Upon our arrival at the hotel we could immediately see why the Palazzo is rated as a 5-star establishment: we were welcomed with lemonade and towels to refresh (to ensure that our few seconds of waiting to get helped at reception would be comfortable). I cant help but point out the attentiveness and friendliness of all the staff members, everyone from the bell boys to the hotel managers. When you enter your room, you immediately get a feeling of elegance. The interior finishes have got a very luxurious feel to them, without being overpowering. Ill be honest, the bathroom was a bit too compact for my liking, but I think it was designed that way to ensure that you get a feeling of luxury with the large bedroom area; the walls are high which gives a sense of having a lot more space inside. Our room had a very nice little patio which overlooked the Tuscan-styled garden court.
Highlights of the stay
- We were offered breakfast in bed (without any extra costs incurred). You simply fill in what you would like for breakfast on a little menu and indicate at what time you would like it to be delivered. Way too cool not to make use of!
- The rooms have got little surprises to round off the experience such as a Nespresso coffee machine, and welcoming snacks including none other than South African biltong and spicy cashews.
- Dinner was simply exquisite: you know that the restaurant is good when the chef brings you the food himself, and that he can prepare things you normally dont enjoy (e.g. asparagus and Brussels sprouts) and you find yourself licking your plate afterwards.
- I wont go into too much detail around the dinner, but what I will say, is that the missus enjoyed a Salmon fillet which literally melted in her mouth, while I had a ridiculously good chicken breast which was tender on the inside, and grilled perfectly on the outside.
Why you should go
I dont know of too many venues (especially in Johannesburg) where one can watch a show, then simply walk over to your hotel room afterwards. And its not just any hotel; its a luxury 5-star hotel. And the shows arent just any old shows; the productions are of a very high standard. Its a very surreal feeling to have this entertainment hub next to your hotel. Even if you want to kick back and have a few drinks, you dont have to bother with arranging a taxi or a lift home.
To cut to the chase: what I really enjoyed about this package is that you get quite a lot of bang for your buck. If you had to add up what it would cost you and your partner to go out for an evening, watch a show, have a meal and stay over at a place it becomes impractical. But it seems that Montecasino offers a very nifty package for people who are simply looking to step out of their mundane, daily routines without breaking the bank. On top of that, breakfast (which is my favourite meal of the day) was included. When I book a stay over at a hotel, the experience has to justify the price for me, and this package did that and more.
Experience the magic of The Nutcracker on Ice this festive season
You dont have to fly to New York to see a world-class theatre production or even the world premiere of an international show. The dazzling Nutcracker on Ice (featuring the incredible Imperial Ice Stars) is on stage at the Teatro at Montecasino now until 15th January 2012, allowing you to experience all the magic and excitement of this breathtaking family spectacle at Gautengs number one entertainment destination.
The show promises a spectacle with ever more breath-taking high-speed leaps and throws, and awe-inspiring acrobatics, coupled with the most graceful and sublime ice dancing, in the intimate setting of a frozen theatre stage.
As an added bonus special Southern Sun show & stay packages have been designed specially to give out-of-town guests, or locals wanting a night out the opportunity to catch this never-seen-before international dance spectacular.
All packages include accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis, a two-course dinner in the hotel restaurant, plus best available tickets to see the Nutcracker on Ice, and a show programme.
| SunSquare Montecasino Show & Stay package perfect for couples!
Come and enjoy the show and a one night stay over this festive season as a spectacular end to 2011. Packages range from R1 790 for two people per night sharing at the fun and funky SunSquare Montecasino.
| Southern Sun Montecasino Show & Stay package perfect for families!
Families wishing to take advantage of this package can enjoy stylish accommodation at the contemporary Southern Sun Montecasino for R2 020 for two people sharing with twin rooms suitable for two adults and two children sharing paying only an additional charge for tickets and breakfast for children
| Palazzo Montecasino Show & Stay package the ultimate experience!
For the ultimate in luxury and romance, stay-over at the palatial Palazzo Montecasino for R3 210 for two people sharing.
Rates quoted are for standard rooms, per night for two people, and are subject to availability, with upgrades subject to an additional surcharge. Packages are valid for select shows from Tuesday to Saturday and pre-payment is essential.
To book your show & stay package follow the links alongside