Tuesday, 26 March 2013

BRB's Aladdin

Aladdin, Birmingham Royal Ballet, London Coliseum - reviewed on 20th March

Ambra Vallo and Tyrone Singleton as Rubies
Photo: Bill Cooper
Birmingham Royal Ballet brought a real family treat to the London Coliseum last week with their joyous Aladdin. Nothing like the Disney version (except for a flying carpet), David Bintley's ballet focuses more on the pleasure of dancing than the narrative.

In the opening scene, we meet Aladdin in a crowded street before he ventures into the cave of riches in search of the infamous lamp. Every moment is filled with delightful choreography – on Aladdin’s journey, he dances with the desert winds and inside the cave, human jewels become an extended divertissement of solos, pas de deux and group numbers.
 
Particularly pleasing was the Rubies duo by Ambra Vallo and Tyrone Singleton (pictured), with showy movements and enormous lifts reminiscent of Don Quixote and La Corsaire. Natasha Oughtred also excelled in the more lyrical Sapphire pas de cinq.
 
In Acts II and III, Aladdin meets his Princess and she is rapidly kidnapped and rescued. The lead characters, performed by César Morales and Nao Sakuma, were sweet but outshone by other performers. Tzu-Chao Chou had the hugest jumps as the Djinn of the Lamp and Marion Tait gave a pleasing humorous twist as Aladdin’s fusspot mother.

The score by Carl Davis is delightful as are the costumes and sets by Sue Blane and Dick Bird. But it is the dancing that takes centre stage. Unlike Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice's Adventures in Wonderland where the choreography takes a back seat, this is a ballet that is all about… ballet.

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