Aladdin, Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham

3.00

 

“But it isn’t Christmas,” was the response when I mentioned Birmingham Royal Ballet’s shiny new production of Aladdin

Indeed not: the company is aiming to create a spring audience for festive family ballet with David Bintley’s confident fairytale staging. It’s a lavish production with bright dancing, though it doesn’t match the heart of this company’s Nutcracker or Cinderella.

Bintley created Aladdin for the National Ballet of Japan in 2008, with revised designs for this UK premiere. The story moves briskly from the bazaar to the cave of jewels to the royal palace. Dick Bird’s sets get more handsome as the evening goes on, from a functional marketplace to the delicate Arabian traceries of his bathhouse and palace settings. A huge bony staircase leads down into the cave of jewels, suggesting a whale’s skeleton.

The leading characters – Aladdin, his princess, the Djinn of the Lamp – are drawn in clear, simple lines and classical steps. César Morales is a brisk, elegant Aladdin, more at home with the character’s yearning than his mischief. At her first sight of him, Nao Sakuma’s Princess is interested, flirty and shy all at once. Her dancing is light and airy.

Rather than conjuring a towering Djinn, Bintley’s lamp produces a speedy virtuoso dancer, dyed bright blue. Tzu-Chao Chou makes a triumphant first entrance, bobbing midair at the top of a pillar of smoke, before whizzing through a firework display of leaps and turns. The production’s magic scenes are fun, with a satisfying magic carpet ride.

Carl Davis’ score, originally written for Scottish Ballet, has cinematic sweep and touches of Ravel, with lots of scope for dancing. In the desert cave, the jewels step out as dancers. Bintley’s polished setpieces could be more individual, but he shows off his company’s strength and range.

Natasha Oughtred is a rippling, water-sprite Sapphire, with Momoko Hirata and Joseph Caley winding through sinuous partnering as Rubies. Céline Gittens makes a splendidly glamorous Diamond. There’s an appealing courtly dance for gold and silver. Sue Blane’s costumes are very glitzy, with far too much much gold lamé. Her court dresses are better, with gauzy frocks and harem pants for the princess.

There’s more dancing at Aladdin’s wedding, with some appealing character detail. The hero’s bossy mother, an assertive Marion Tait, rejoices outright. Princess’s father, Jonathan Payn, weeps sentimentally into his silk handkerchief. There’s also a delightful Chinese lion dance. Wrapped in a silky, fringed costume, James Barton and Mathias Dingman make an acrobatic lion, jumping up on its hind legs to kick its fluffy forepaws in the air.

Until 23 February. Box office 0844 338 500. Touring until 24 March. www.brb.org.uk

Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama

TV

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before