For the last four seasons I have been to see Birmingham Royal Ballet’s touring productions at the Lowry Theatre at Salford Quays, and they never disappoint. I’ve become a bit of a ballet snob actually, and now only the most sumptuous productions will do. I want to see world class dancers, extravagant sets and unbelievably beautiful costumes. There are quite a few ballets shown in Manchester across the year, but Birmingham Royal Ballet and English National Ballet are the ones I make the effort to see.
This time the production was Aladdin, and it plays in Manchester at the Lowry until this Saturday before it continues its tour of the country. And it couldn’t have been more different to BRB’s productions of Beauty and the Beast and Swan Lake last year. It was exotic, colourful and magical with a sweet and lovely romance, rather than dark, brooding, passionate or tragic. I also enjoyed seeing a hero who was not a handsome and distinguished Prince but a cheeky, streetwise young rogue, and a heroine who was not tormented or down-trodden but sweet and joyful. I don’t mean to say I didn’t love last year’s ballets (I did!); just that it’s always nice to see something different.
My desire to see gorgeous costumes was more than satisfied and I was impressed at how magical it all was, with a floating, disappearing/reappearing genie and his entourage (I loved their epic dance in the second act); a flying magic carpet; hoards of dancing treasures and jewels inside a magic cave; a charming dance with the girls at the Palace baths; and grand halls of the Palace (with excellent lighting by the way) complete with Chinese dragons.
I heard a man comment on the way out, “What a brilliant way to spend an evening”, and I’d have to agree with him there! For photography of the production check out the BRB website, and also worth a look is the Creating Aladdin blog, an interesting insight into how the show was put together!