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Ice Age Live: A Mammoth Adventure

October 2012

HE lumbers across the arena floor and stands against a green screen, posing for a bank of international photographers. Manny stands 3.6 metres high and 4.2 metres from trunk to tail. He blinks then shakes his head, making the thick brown fur roll in a wave down his flanks.

It’s only on closer inspection that you see the castors beneath his feet, then the legs of a puppeteer. There’s another operating the back legs.
Manny is the star of Ice Age Live: A Mammoth Adventure, a multi-million pound live stage version based on the hit movie series.
Well, he’s certainly the biggest character in the show.
Sid, the clumsy, fast-talking sloth who stands beside him could easily be a favourite among audiences.
Or there’s Diego, the sarcastic sabre-toothed tiger and Scrat, the sabre-toothed squirrel.
All have been brought to life for this five-year world tour, which opened in Cardiff today, and comes to Nottingham from next Thursday.
It will then visit more than 30 countries on five continents.
“This is a very special project for us and the expectations are there; we have to prove a lot,” says Caspar Gerwe from Stage Entertainment Touring Productions, the company behind this arena tour.
We’re in what is nothing fancier than an industrial park in Utrecht, a 30-minute drive from Amsterdam, where the production is in rehearsals.
It’ll be in Nottingham next week before its official world premiere at Wembley Arena on November 2.
“It’s a new storyline inspired by the first three films,” says Gerwe.
“Remember this is the biggest grossing animated film franchise of all time, grossing $4 billion at the box office, from home entertainment and merchandise sales.”
The show was created before the release of the fourth instalment, Ice Age: Continental Drift, in July.
It’s the first time that Twentieth Century Fox has allowed one of its films to be taken off the big screen and adapted for the stage.
“We see increasing demand for family entertainment in arenas,” says Gerwe.
“And there are not too many out there. While we were brain storming ideas for shows, we were thinking about movies and Ice Age was one that came up.
“It’s very successful. And each sequel has done bigger business than the last, which is unusual.
“It’s a whole new venture for Fox but they were very open minded when we approached them with the idea.”
Stage Entertainment are already in talks with Fox on doing the same live arena tour with the Madagascar film series, although much will depend on the success ofIce Age Live.
The show features a cast of 40 puppeteers, skaters and acrobats telling a brand new story on and off the ice.

“It’s not an ice show,” says creative director Michael Curry, who shows off the remote controlled moving floors that slide across the ice during the show.
“Our brief was to create as many different environments as we could because, in the films, they are on a journey through different landscapes.
“At one point we turn the arena into a cave. So there are a lot of different textures in the show created using lighting, special effects, video projections and the like.”
As well as the familiar characters such as Manny, Scrat, Diego, Sid, Ellie, Peaches, Buck, Eddie and Crash, are new characters, such as lion dancing polar bears and Shadow, the evil bird with a four-metre wing span.
Says Curry: “The new characters are to flesh it out and make it more of a spectacle. Fox were surprised at the idea of bringing in new characters but they were very receptive when we explained why.”
The show will combine narrative action with music, skating, acrobatics, aerial arts, comedy and special effects.
Says Curry: “We are using the very best combinations we can bring to the table, with human actors, comedy, Kung Fu, ice skating, circus, costume performers and video illusion to combine many different forms.”
Curry has worked in the industry for nearly 30 years. His clients have included The Walt Disney Company, Cirque du Soleil, Universal Studios and The Olympics.
He created all the characters for Ice Age Live in his Los Angeles studio.
“I’ve done more than anyone in terms of translating animated films to the stage. And Ice Age was a no brainer.”
Although he admits: “I’ve made a lot of elephants but never a mammoth.
“I have a degree in anatomical anatomy so I was cutting up cadavers to learn how muscles worked when I was a student.
“Manny’s skelton is accurate to that of a mammal. I used inflatables in the legs to give that sense of muscle movement.”
His co-director Guy Caron, Cirque du Soleil’s first artistic director when the company was created in 1984, adds: “For me, it’s a family show. It’s for the kids but it is also for the parents.”

Ice Age Live! A Mammoth Adventure runs at the Capital FM Arena from Thursday October 25 to Sunday October 28. Performances are at 7pm (Fri/Sat), 3pm (Thurs, Sat, Sun) and 11am (Sun). Tickets are £20 to £45 from the venue, call 0843 373 3000 or go to

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