Birmingham Royal Ballet

Birmingham Hippodrome


If you’re expecting pantomime or Disney, you might be disappointed but otherwise this ballet is simply the most generous, glorious production of a classic tale ever.

It is a sumptuous and energising version from BRB’s director DavidBintley, with a whimsical wit that would please all the family.

We know the story which the initial screen did so much to illuminate with a simple image of a bruised and brooding ‘magic hour’ sky with a gently glowing lamp on a pedestal.

Aladdin, the poor son of a washerwoman, becomes entangled with a malicious magician whose lamp is in a cave out of his reach. Aladdin is persuaded to fetch it but his instincts are that the lamp is worth keeping. The magician tempts him with jewels and the love of the emperor’s beautiful daughter and seals him in the cave to certain death but he keeps the lamp. The lamp has a secret which the magician fails to impart that saves him.

In this production, Aladdin (Mathias Dingman) is both mischievous and irrepressible though his despair at being sealed in the cave is almost palpable

His mother (Marion Tait) is cajoling but supportive. His princess (Momoko Hirata) is delicate and beautiful. The Djinn of the lamp very blue (Tzu-Chao Chou) and the emperor (Jonathan Payn) very funny.

The magician (Iain Mackay) is a brilliant baddie. The finest section is the dancing jewels, the pearls, diamonds, sapphires, rubies and precious metals come to life. The staging of this section is also breathtaking. Luminous stalactites and stalagmites light up the stage for the dances in sequence.

There is so much to enjoy that it is hard to single out just one scene but I loved the section in the harem bathhouse where Aladdin has gate crashed the princess’ bath. It is steamy in more ways than one! Also, I live in awe of anyone who can remain elegant in just a towel.

This is first class entertainment, brilliant storytelling, with elements of pantomime in the form of a wonderfully expressive pantomime dragon danced by Aladdin’s two friends (Kit Holder and Lachlan Monaghan) that forms part of the wedding celebrations. Needless to say, the dancing is faultless, the music, from Carl Davis, absolutely gorgeous (there is a full orchestra, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, in the pit), the set (Dick Bird) a treat of its own and it has provided me with one of the finest evenings of my year. To 07-10-17

Jane Howard


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