"Get 'em now," yelled the Candy Apple Man, "we can't sell when the show starts." A promise soon forgotten. Hawkers prowled the aisles throughout the performance of the Ice Follies and Holidy on Ice Combined Shows, dispensing hot dogs, Coke, cotton candy and other sticky things to an eager public. Spectators roamed freely through the D.C. Starplex Armory, children shouting and swearing, teen-agers running up and down and down and up the stairs. The only way one could distinguich the intermission from the show was that the lights went on and the ice was empty. If ever performers deserved to throw rotten eggs and snowballs at their audience, it was these talented young skaters who had to contend with whistlers, joggers and all manner of unmannerly folk at last night' performance.
The half of the audience that remained seated saw precise and energetic skating, skits that tended to be broad of humor, sets and lighting effects as okating, skits that tended to be broad of humor, sets and lighting effects as opulent as probably can be had at a family show in inflationary times. This ice show aims to please as many tastes as possible -- skating buffs, kids and "Star Wars" fans, as well as lovers of spectacle and animal acts. If it is unlikely that everything will please everybody, it's also hard to imagine that anyone will come away totally disappointed.
Norbu the Almost Human Gorilla was the biggest hit last night. He chased kids around the bleachers at the beginning of the second act, and the audience, probably exhausted from their first-act antics and quiet for a few minutes, didn't seem to mind when he pelted them with their own popcorn and made fearful faces which frightened their young. Norbu cornered a young woman (who was part of the act) and grabbed her purse and hat. The kids seemed as equally enchanted when he tripped her on the ice when he ripped off her skirt, revealing a slip.
Clive Philpson, a sort of icey Evel Knievel in Western garb, shot pistols, twirled a rope, jumped over four girls and four barrels and ended his exciting and highly polished act with a leap through a swirling ring of fire. Later he partnered his wife, Carol, in two adagios which showed off the duo's confident grace.
Two male virtuosos dazzled with their aerial feats. Vern Taylor exhibited his world championship technique while Bruno Jerry, a less finished but equally exciting performer, raced through two jazz-dance numbers with an infectious charm. Wayne Armstrong and Brenda Johnson had just begun a lovely disco adagio before they were "attacked" by "photographer" Greg Ladret in a comedy sketch that was almost frighteningly realistic.
Little Lito's pantomimes were a bit too long and not terribly original, but the audience howled. The Cookie Monster, Big Bird and their friends also delighted the children.
There was a too-tame African number, a tribute to Lawrence Welk (which unfortunately had more oomph than the jungle piece) and an elaborate space-travel bit complete with robots. The finale, with its line of Rockette-like skaters and all the stars, was exactly the right finish to a holiday spectacle. The show runs through Nov. 30.