Reviewed by Linda Pickford
I am not a usual ballet goer but having seen the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production of Cinderella in March this year and enjoyed it, I was keen to see if Aladdin would live up to my expectations.
Aladdin’s mother (Marion Tait) and The Sultan (Jonathan Payn) brought some delightful light-hearted moments to this thrilling performance. Mathias Dingman, as Aladdin, and Momoko Hirata, as the Princess, were stunning to watch but my attention was always drawn to the almost acrobatic movements of Tzu-Chao Chou, the blue coloured Djinn (genie) of the lamp. His magical appearances on stage required your immediate attention as did his costume and amazing bald head. In fact, the costumes and makeup of the whole ensemble was amazing.
Everyone knows the story of Aladdin, the boy who is tricked by a sorcerer to retrieve an old lamp. He finds it but the evil Mahgrib, Iain Mackay, tries to double cross him and he is entombed in an almost prehistoric ribcage lined cave. Aladdin discovers all the jewels in the cave but needs light to get out so rubs the dirty lamp in an attempt to get it working. Magically he is returned to his mother’s laundry, a wonderful set design with wet washing hanging everywhere. Aladdin sees the princess at the bath house and falls in love with her. He is discovered and sentenced to death. His mother pleads for his life with much subtle comedy. The Djinn arrives with his jewels and transforms him into a rich prince. Life should now become happy ever after, but the sorcerer is determined to be the master of the lamp and tricks the princess in order to gain possession of it. He commands the genie to take them both to his home. Aladdin follows, and they manage to drug the Mahgrib and take back the lamp. They return to court with the help of the Djinn and a magic carpet ride. In thanks the Djinn receives his freedom from the lamp for his help.
The audience, particularly the youngsters, were enthralled throughout. Watch out for the spectacular Dragon dance towards the end and the very special magical transformations throughout. The sets and lighting effects were excellent. The brilliant score by Carl Davis was played wonderfully by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, conducted by Paul Murphy.
A great night out at a lovely theatre. There are public transport stops nearby and plenty of car parking facilities. Make a night of it and have dinner first at one of the many local restaurants or indeed at the Theatre Royal itself.
Tickets cost from £10 to £39 (booking fees may apply).
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Aladdin is at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth from 25-28 October 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.theatreroyal.com or call the box office on 01752 267222.
Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR | 01752 267222