I think that even adults need the magic of fairy tales in their lives, and on Friday night I was transported to the land of beautiful Princesses, handsome heroes and magic lamps when I attended the press preview of Aladdin by the Birmingham Royal Ballet at the Birmingham Hippodrome.
The new production by David Bintley is an exquisite triumph, perfect entertainment for the whole family, with scenes that amuse, romantic sequences that charm, and an wholly engaging cast that keep you entertained throughout.
The story is kept thankfully familiar, Aladdin(Cesar Morales) is a cheeky chappy who gets himself into troubles that almost cost him his head, and is then rescued by the sinister Maghrib who sets him the task to find a magic lamp. We are then enchanted by a sumptuous scene where Aladdin progresses through a truly beautiful cave, where the myriad of rubies, emeralds and sapphires are bought to life by a series of energetic dances, before Aladdin finally reaches the centre of the cave, and thus the lamp. The scenery in this particular section was stunning, I loved the stalagmites in a multitude of colours.
The cave scene was my favourite, bit there were many other sections to enjoy, not least of which was the wedding dance of the Chinese Dragon, resplendent in white and gold. And I loved the romance of the bathhouse scene, where Aladdin and the beautiful princess (Nao Sakuma) first meet and fall in love. In terms of the characterisations, Maghrib is a suitably dark and devilish bad guy, whilst the blue genie is both magical and genial, and delights every time he appears. Aladdin’s mother brings forth the comic element, and delights when she sets her amorous sight on the Sultan.
This is just a perfect night out for the whole family, delighting the audience by old and young. A total feast for the eyes and for the ears, with the Carl Davis score illuminating each scene majestically, Aladdin shows that ballet can be funny, entertaining and touching in equal parts. A real triumph.
*I was very lucky to be dressed for the evening by AX Paris. A review post will be on the site tomorrow.