Reviewed by Catherine Brown
The classic tale of Aladdin is being performed at the Birmingham Hippodrome by the Birmingham Royal Ballet. With the Disney film being a favourite of mine, the plot and characters were already familiar and I was delighted to discover that the dance version maintains the magic.
Even before the ballerinas took to the stage we were able to enjoy enchanting music performed by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia. Then the curtain rose on Aladdin and his friends in a street scene culminating in him being chased around the stage by his irate mother. When his behaviour upsets the palace guards the villainous Mahgrib intervenes and whisks Aladdin away to a cave below the desert.
This was my favourite scene, where we were introduced to various dazzling ‘jewels’ – all ballerinas performing in exquisite costumes and captivating the audience with their moves. I was particularly impressed by the strength and agility of the rubies who made their lifts and turns seem effortless. Eventually Aladdin spots a lamp but refuses to hand it over to the Mahgrib. Then begins a whirlwind adventure leading to Aladdin meeting and falling in love with the Princess Bedr al-Budur.
During act 2 Aladdin risks the wrath of her father the sultan by entering the palace to meet with his love. The attention to detail on the scenery was impressive including running water in the bathhouse. When he is captured, Aladdin’s mother comes to his rescue with the magical lamp. The Djinn (genie) of the lamp is summonsed and Aladdin convinces everyone that he is marriage material for the Princess.
In act 3 the wicked Mahgrib tricks Aladdin into leaving the palace and manages to get his hands on the lamp. The Princess is whisked away to Morocco where Aladdin has to come to her rescue. Finally, the ballet culminates in the magic carpet ride (the only moment where I actually missed the Disney score).
The theatre is easy to get, we parked at the Arcadian car park nearby which offers an after 5pm theatre ticket. The staff at the hippodrome were very helpful and friendly. There was a good range of drinks, sweets and ice cream available at the interval along with Birmingham Royal Ballet merchandise. The seats are comfortable with plenty of leg room and there are plenty of clean toilets which avoid the chance of large queues.
All of the dancers were extremely talented, Aladdin’s mother added wonderful humour and the detail in the costumes was also delightful. The story is accessible to newcomers to the ballet and there were a wide range of ages in the audience. I would recommend this show to all ballet lovers, definitely worthy of a 5 out of 5 rating.
Tickets cost from £16 (booking fees may apply).
Aladdin is at the Birmingham Hippodrome from 3-7 October 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.birminghamhippodrome.com or call the box office on 0844 338 5000.
Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst St, Southside, Birmingham, B5 4TB | 0844 338 5000