Reviews of the Birmingham Royal Ballet in "Aladdin."
Rather than conjuring a towering Djinn, Bintley’s lamp produces a speedy virtuoso dancer, dyed bright blue. Tzu-Chao Chou makes a triumphant first entrance, bobbing midair at the top of a pillar of smoke, before whizzing through a firework display of leaps and turns. The production’s magic scenes are fun, with a satisfying magic carpet ride.
Yet those looking for any kind of novel choreographic spin, or even a language that rises above the generic and predictable, will be disappointed. Bintley is an adept choreographer but here he lets his imagination take a back seat to efficiency, and the constant references to other ballets are dispiriting. The Jewels divertissement, in the Cave of Riches, is busy but charmless; the duets for Aladdin and the Princess fall short of exquisitely romantic. Although the Saturday matinee crowd thrilled to the dancing animals (first Lion, then Dragon), to me it was like Le Corsaire without the fun.
Bintley is also choreographing against the obstacle of Carl Davis's score, which pumps out atmospheric climax but lacks sufficient rhythmic variety to inspire serious dance invention. There is little in the way of characterisation, either, with Bintley merely sketching the unlikely attraction between street boy Aladdin and the Sultan's daughter, and shirking real darkness when the latter is kidnapped by the evil Maghrib.