Well, it’s only the start of October but I already feel as if I’ve had a Christmas treat with Birmingham Royal Ballet’s wonderful newly-mounted production of its Director David Bintley’s Aladdin. It’s actually a sneaky pre-yuletide opportunity just to indulge ourselves with no particular reason except pure self-gratification and old-fashioned honest-to-goodness enjoyment. This marvellous retelling of the famous poor-boy-makes-good One Thousand and One Nights story Aladdin has it all. Carl Davis’s huge cinematic score has an epic quality right from the rousing overture, plus there are endless marvellously choreographed set pieces, spectacular sets, brilliantly eye-popping costumes, a lovely feel-good classic storyline, but most of all BRB’s marvellous dancers all bristling like terriers with excitement in the pursuit of just one thing – to give us all a feast, a treat of treats with this evening of pure escapist entertainment, and Christmas still nowhere in sight. You all know the tale. Poor boy somehow acquires a battered old lamp, but the evil Mahgrib wants it for his own because its possessor controls the all-powerful magic of the genie of the lamp. The attendant tale of dastardly doings and ultimate triumphs is beautifully told here in a non-stop procession of delights. Favourite moments for me included a dejected Aladdin sitting on the staircase down to the underground kingdom which turns out to be the fossilised ribcage of a giant dragon/dinosaur, the intoxicating dancing of the whirling dervishes, the rousing Dragon Dancing at the very end. Company favourite leading man Mathias Dingman has just the right looks and verve to play the irrepressibly likeable Aladdin as the cheeky chappy of all time, while the stalwart Assistant Director Marion Tait, a mistress of mime, is marvellous as his feisty washer-woman mum. Almost unrecognisable under his majestic magician garb is company stalwart Iain Mackay here masking his real-life sunny charm with a villain’s cruelty plus of course there’s the essential Tzu-Chao Chou as the alarmingly fearsome Djinn of the Lamp. In a series of fabulous set pieces I mustn’t forget the marvellous Dragon dance, a treat saved almost for the evening’s very end, but believe me there isn’t a moment wasted in this powerfully visual production which has feel-good factors written all over it. Aladdin runs at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday (October 7). For tickets phone the box office on 0844 338 5000 or visit