Simon Hale witnesses the latest production at Birmingham Hippodrome.
With its stunning costumes and sets, magical machinations and dazzling dancing, Birmingham Royal Ballet has unleashed a genie of its own with its sparkling production of Aladdin.
Director David Bintley’s choreography evokes the fabulous world of One Thousand and One Nights in a show that lets the dancing rather than the acting tell the story.
Mathias Dingman makes for a superbly mischievous Aladdin enticed by a vision of a beautiful princess and riches by a wickedly Mahgrib (Iain Mackay) who uses him to find his magic lamp lost in a cave.
A huge rib cage-like entrance leading to a space lit by stalactites and ‘mites that change colour to reflect dancing jewels are thrilling imagined by set designer Dick Bird and lighting designer Mark Jonathan. The dancers themselves are dressed to represent eight sets of jewels in costumes all wonderfully designed by Sue Blane, who is also spot on with the show’s lavish courtly dress.
The rubbing of the lamp that leads to the appearance seemingly suspended in air of the bald and blue Djinn, danced energetically by Tzu-Chao Chou, is a pyrotechnical marvel. Thrilling too, is a steamy bath house scene where the impudent Aladdin is arrested for approaching the princess, danced exquisitely by Momoko Hirata, and the show’s unforgettable magic carpet ending.
All the dancing is simply top-notch, so good that you don’t want the evening to end. With a sumptuous Carl Davis score played expertly by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia under Paul Murphy that fully supports all the excitement and romance, this production ranks among BRB’s best. Rub along to see it!
Aladdin is in performance at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday, 7th October. Tickets