The relationship between story and spectacle is one that all artists and entertainers must negotiate. Sometimes narrative has to be compromised for the sake of aesthetics. When I took my kids to see Dream Big, the latest iteration of Disney on Ice, an endless procession of princesses and princes skated their way through iconic duets with all the pizzazz of costumes, sets and effects. But my daughter, a stickler for story, observed that the compressed versions of Sleeping Beauty, Frozen and The Little Mermaid glossed over important twists and turns in the respective tales. It’s a balancing act: getting as many Disney favourites out on the ice as possible to cater for the varying tastes of thousands of sugared-up children on any given night, while remaining vaguely faithful to the stories in which the famous characters and songs are embedded, because those children know their Disney damn well. Alternatively, you could argue that the creators of Disney on Ice are free to jump from scen...

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