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Aladdin: Birmingham Royal Ballet Review

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
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Magical new ballet of Aladdin is a feast for the eyes
Some things are worth the wait, as this new mesmerising production of ballet Aladdin from Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) proves.
AladdinBRB
The stunning Aladdin ballet breathes new life to the age-old fairytale


More than five years in the making, this full-length ballet has reinvigorated the tale of Aladdin with breath-taking scenery, and special effects, sensual dance scenes and exhilarating music that wouldn't be out of place in an action movie.

Gone is any sense of pantomime 'cheese', and instead there are touches of humour and a sense of fun, which added to the dazzling costumes, making this a show that children and adults will equally adore.

It's a big scale production - a flying carpet, a bright blue genie appearing in a poof of smoke floating in mid-air and a glowing lamp among the special effects. While the lavish sets transform the stage into wonders of the ancient world. Whether its a dingy cave complete with whale bone staircase, exotic and steamy bathhouse or a royal court with Moorish horseshoe arch architecture, it is constantly a feast for the eyes.

The ballet begins with cheeky Aladdin causing a rumpus in the market square before being transported to the wilds of the desert and a mysterious cave by the sinister Mahgrib, a Moroccan magician.

It is inside the cave that Aladdin comes across an array of jewels, each of which dance for him and provide the most charming scenes in the production.

The delightful costumes and dances of sharp-edged diamonds, snake-like emeralds and regal gold among the horde of riches hark back to the colourful characters encountered in The Nutcracker.

AladdinBRB2
An array of dazzling costumes and dances are sure to make Aladdin an audience favourite


But this is only the start of the adventure as Aladdin attempts to win over the Emperor's daughter, Princess Badr-al-Budur, through a series of romantic encounters and pas-de-deux full of sensitivity and difficult lifts, made to look effortless by principal ballet dancers Cesar Morales and Nao Sakuma.

There is also an emotionally-charged music score. It varies between frivolous fun and an uplifting overture of adventure that kept reminding me of movie Back to the Future. But then, the soundtrack has been created by the BAFTA award-winning Carl Davis, who has also created scores for the French Lieutenant's Woman, Pride and Prejudice and Cranford.

Genie
The magic of Aladdin in Birmingham Royal Ballet's new production


BRB artistic director David Bintley, who was also responsible for the ballet company's award-winning Cinderella production, has described Aladdin as "possibly the least 'deep' ballet I've made", but its charm and vibrant sets are sure to make this an audience favourite.

Aladdin continues at Birmingham Hippodrome until February 23.

A special family-friendly show takes place at 6.30pm on Friday February 22.

Tickets cost between 15 and 47 from Birmingham Hippodrome Website or 0844 338 5000.

The production will then move to The Lowry, in Salford from February 27 to March 2.

Tickets cost between 18 and 40 from The Lowry website or 0843 208 6007.

Aladdin will then conclude at The London Coliseum, from March 20 to March 24.

Tickets cost between 25 and 65 from Ticket Website
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Why? Magical ballet for all the family
When: February/March
Phone: 0844 338 5000
Where: Touring production
Cost: 15 - 47
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by Alison Brinkworth on 01/02/2013
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