Small World

Remember the Ice Capades? I don't. My parents wouldn't take me. Ditto for the Disney classics. My knowledge as a child of Pinocchio and Mary Poppins was entirely secondhand. But now that I'm a parent, things are different: It would be unthinkable in this day and age to deny my advantaged wee ward access to any and all glittery ice shows and mawkish big-screen cartoons, especially now that the two come so benevolently packaged as one.

Toy Story 2, the inspiration for this season's Disney on Ice skate spectacle, at the Pepsi Center through December 15, has all the hallmarks of the new Disney image: It's an original story not based on a fairy tale, and it has all-ages appeal, characters with depth, and Grammy-nominated songs. All of these elements serve to lessen the initial shock of seeing a giant, grotesque, live-action Mr. Potato Head glide/galumph across the ice.

You have to admit, though, the skating is pretty good. It's truly beautiful, if not a little confounding, to watch the athletes under those massive costumes manage their pirouettes with panache, flashing ice flying off their blades under the spotlights. The sets and special effects are right on, and the story's built-in laughs mostly survive intact.

So never mind the chaos. Sure, they're hawking twirly lights and Sno-Kones in plastic eight-dollar Buzz Lightyear cups, the place smells like popcorn, a gratuitous Mickey Mouse appears and reappears for additional glitz, and the irritatingly canned soundtrack echoes through the arena like a voice forever lost in the Grand Canyon. But just sneak a look at your kid's face -- then try to emulate. That's Disney, folks!

Tickets start at $12.75; call 303-830-TIXS for details.

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd