High School Musical The Ice Tour, Arena, Manchester, until Sunday, February 8.

THE popularity of High School Musical means that this latest Disney ice tour can’t fail to impress the young audience.

It’s a faithful adaptation of the first two movies, with all the toe-tapping songs mimed perfectly by the cast and some out-of-this world skating.

To bring things up-to-date, proceedings kick off with a huge screen showing clips and backstage footage of the latest (third) HSM film.

This was followed by a screened “singalong” and mini-dance class — both of which fell quite flat, with few youngsters in the audience willing to show themselves up by taking part.

Never mind, because when the show-proper hits the ice, things soon hot up.

From the first minute, you can see this is a highly professional production and the kids lap it up.

“The only problem, though, is Troy,” in the words of my eight-year-old. I have to agree with her.

Figure-skating leading character Troy just doesn’t compare to the on-screen heartthrob. Couldn’t they have died the guy’s blond hair and let it grow a bit floppy, or buy a wig?

His love interest, Gabriella, had a much better likeness, as did Sharpay, who injected some great humour into her performance.

That said, Troy was the best skater — taking a superb solo towards the end, while singing the heart-felt Bet On It.

Props in this production are minimal, although there are fireworks from the ceiling and the pink golf buggy to be enjoyed.

But I prefer my ice shows of the more magical variety, with all the spectacle of previous shows such as Princess Wishes or Disneyland Adventure. Oh, those lavish costumes, golden carriages and pirate ships.

As Sharpay says: “I want fabulous, that is my simple request. All things fabulous, bigger, better and best.”

Yet to the kids of today, that’s just what they got in this show.

Irma Heger