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Review: Aladdin @ Birmingham Hippodrome

Everyone in theatreland’s always looking for their next Christmas show, and I reckon Birmingham Royal Ballet have just found theirs with BRB Director David Bintley’s spectacular Aladdin. Originally created for the National Ballet of Japan in 2008, this was the British premiere unveiled in the presence of some of the sharpest eyes (and tongues) in the business. The result was a sumptuous triumph.

There was a gala Arabian Nights air about the first act right from the busy crowd scene outside the palace gate with its market, hawkers, magicians and militia to the lavish final scene where poor Aladdin (touchingly portrayed by Cesar Morales) sent to find the lamp by an evil magician (Iain Mackay on imposing form) becomes trapped in a treasure-filled cave. The climactic “Jewels” sequence recalled the opulence of a great MGM-style Ziegfield Follies set piece in a non-stop treat for the eyes.

Act Two presented an exquisite Alhambra-style bathhouse complete with real fountains that simply shimmered with exotic mystery, the perfect setting for the delicate loveliness of Nao Sakuma as the couture-clad Princess. In the crowded court scene BRB’s Assistant Director Marion Tate showed her quality by drawing all eyes as Aladdin’s diminutive mother merely by moving from one place to another.

But if there’s a star in this already celestial production it is Tzu-Chao Chou as the exotic slave of the lamp, his blue-skinned figure packed with a tightly-controlled power that seemed to have something genuinely supernatural about it.

Aladdin is a feast of magic and magnificence which could run for decades, packed with humour, pathos and energy rising to a romantic crescendo of celebration complete with Chinese New Year Lion Dogs. Add in a swooping score by Sir Carl Davis thrillingly performed by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia and you have live theatre at its best. If you feel like you need a bit of a treat, this is a luxury night out.

Aladdin runs at Birmingham Hippodrome until February 23, then tours nationally.

For tickets phone 0844 338 5000 or go online at

Click below to see a trailer for the show:

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