The evening was a step back into childhood nostalgia, of getting on the hired coach with my brother and neighbours from our cul-de-sac, to drive up to London for the traditional Christmas pantomime. And, of course, Aladdin with all that mystical eastern magic was always a favourite with us kids. Now, with the holiday season well past, this same tale of intrigue and enchantment – albeit this time in ballet form – has been brought to the capital for eight performances by Birmingham Royal Ballet.

David Bintley, artistic director of BRB since 1995 and known for his prolific and multifaceted choreographic works, stated that his Aladdin is “the least deep ballet I ever created”. That said, however, he hopes that it is a production that will bring in the public of all ages, with many newcomers to the world of ballet. Bintley originally created Aladdin for the National Ballet of Japan in 2008, but has since re-worked it and kitted it out in new costumes and sets. With today’s challenging economic climate, the production is unique in that it has been funded completely by private enterprise and the generosity of Birmingham audiences. It is also a co-production in partnership with Houston Ballet Foundation, and is expected to be staged in Houston Ballet’s 2013/14 season.

BRB’s production premièred in Birmingham on 13 February this year, and has all the ingredients for a jolly, if somewhat long, night out, with many elements of a good pantomime – mime, funny characters, magic tricks and charismatic lovers, but without, of course, any speech or singing. It offers visual satisfaction with wonderful, vibrant sets by Dick Bird, showing a sultry, barren desert-scape where a huge red moon hangs low over the sands; the deep cave where, after descending a staircase made from the ribcage of some mammoth-sized creature, Aladdin finds jewels and the magic lamp that lie waiting amid colour-changing neon stalagmites and stalactites. There is the bustling souk with multi-patterned hanging carpets; the minarets and painted columns of houses and even a women’s bathing fountain with running water. Then there are the rich, luxurious costumes by Sue Blane, which range from heavy silks and brocades to skimpy harem outfits and black swirling burkas. Add to this is the non-stop action buzzing on the stage and enough magic to keep the young ones happy – the appearances of the Djinn of the Lamp (the Genie to most of us), who arrives seemingly hanging in air in a fog of dry ice; the flying carpet he produces for Aladdin and his bride; the cuddly Chinese lion, and the celebratory flying and swooping dragon kite. (The only props that needed elimination were a pair of flying ducks, whose flapping wings somehow made them look as though they were going backwards.) However, at just under three hours, and three very full acts, the ballet makes for a long performance, especially if young children are to be encouraged to come.

Despite its Chinese-Arabic themes, Bintley’s production is firmly based on classical ballet. He has created several beautiful pas de deux between the two lovers, especially the one at the close of the second act after the Sultan grants permission for his daughter Princess Badr al-Budur to marry the once penniless, now fantastically rich son of a Chinese washerwoman. The couple blends as one in their movements showing strong technique, secure lifts and sparkling, fluid lyricism as their love burgeons. There is also a Russian-style divertissement in Act I for the six varieties of jewels found in the cave. Worthy of note in this were Natasha Oughtred, Ambra Vallo, Tyrone Singleton and Celine Gittens.

Cesar Morales made a charismatic, whirlwind Aladdin with fine technical abilities and strong partnering skills. Nao Sakuma was his gentle and sweet Princess. Aladdin’s mother was danced by Marion Tait, ex-dancer and now ballet mistress of the company, who relished her role. The villain Mahgrib (Iain Mackay), dressed like a wizard from Harry Potter was suitably scheming while Tzu-Chao Chou was a spirited Djinn, fleet of foot and covering the stage in spinning turns and leaps. Painted blue, with shiny silver nails and his head bald except for a topknot that whirled like helicopter wings, he was both incredibly light-footed and commanding.

The score, composed by Carl Davis, is often more akin to film music with its sweeping “great vista” themes mixed with oriental pentatonic scales. Full-blooded, it surges and pounds – The Return of the Jedi came to mind in its first few bars – and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia played throughout with power and passion.