Jun 3rd, 2016
Target Audience: Both Disney fans and newcomers to the movies. Families very welcome, and great for a date!
Morning After Effect: A sudden desire for sequined clothing and aching cheeks from smiling thoughout it all
Standout Star: A tie between Trevor Dion Nicholas as The Genie and Dean John-Wilson as Aladdin
Best Bit: Prince Ali/A Friend Like Me
From the exotic new Arabian design in the foyer, the gorgeously ornate new safety curtain and the purple plush seats in the stalls, Cameron Mackintosh has gone all out to capture the Eastern promise feel. Add to that the high energy, romance and adventure, this is Aladdin as you've never experienced, in the flesh.
There have been some striking changes to the characters and the story; gone are the animal sidekicks of Aladdin and Jasmine; instead of monkey Abu and tiger Rajah, we are treated with a trio each of companions for the two leads; Aladdin's three winningly rapscallion sidekicks and Jasmine's three fabulous feisty attendants; bringing a more realistic feel to a story that is in essence, magic-filled. Abu and Rajah were barely missed after the initial surprise.
There are a number of additional numbers that instead of acting as fillers for the two and a half-hour running time, provide deeper context to Aladdin's background as an orphan (with actual friends), especially in Dean John-Wilson's solo "Proud Of Your Boy", and the raucous "Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim", and Jasmine's (played by Jade Ewen) poignant "These Palace Walls" that illustrate her frustration of being a kept princess. The pair's initial meeting in the Market Place is beefed up with a duet "A Million Miles Away", and shows off the chemistry between Ewen and John-Wilson. Lily James and Richard Madden, watch out for these two...
The star of the show is undoubtably Trevor Dion Nicholas as an ebullient Genie, banishing the spectre of Robin Williams completely, and if possible, even making him more jolly, but with striking authority. Having followed the show from Broadway, he provides a welcome anchor in proceedings. With lungs of liquid brass, he booms his numbers with a face-splitting grin and ramping up the humour by a hundredfold. "A Friend Like Me" is one of the winning numbers, together with the jaw-dropping spectacle of "Prince Ali", where he truly gets to shine.
With meta-references to other Disney movies and musicals delivered with a cheeky grin for the benefit of Mouse fans, it doesn't take itself overly seriously, which sadly undermined the danger threatened by villain Jafar (played with elegant relish by Don Gallagher) at important plot points. His sidekick Iago (transformed in this show to a human, rather than a parrot) is more comical and less angry than Gilbert Gottfried's animated counterpart, effectively isolating Jafar in his quest for evil domination over Agrabah.
Special mentions simply must go to Bob Crowley's eye-popping and ingeniously moving set design - the carpet ride in "A Whole New World" was gloriously starlit and simple, providing a focus on the two leads. Gregg Barnes' costumes drew many an "Oooooh" from the audience, especially when Aladdin makes his grand entrance in "Prince Ali" - we were positively blinded by sequins and coloured silks.
In all, it is a winner whether if you are a newcomer to the film, or a die-hard fan; its family-welcoming vibe adds a certain energy to proceedings, whilst couples will find this a perfect date musical to enjoy. So grab a carpet and fly down to the Prince Edward Theatre... you'll thank us for it!
Verdict: 4.5 out 5 lamps
Reviewed by Natalie Vincent on Friday 3rd June, 2016, in previews until 14 June
What show did you see?
Aladdin the musical
What did you think of it - was it good, great, horrible?
And why do you think it was like that? It was great, because all the magic felt real!
What was your favourite part of the show?
It was all the fake magic like when Jafar opened his evil book and some light came out and the book flipped its pages. It didn't look like there was any wind but the book flipped its pages. Also the magic carpet, it really went in the air! It was really cool, because they put this moon up and the stage turned into loads and loads of stars and they went over the moon, and you could see these really awesome 3D shadows.
If you were starring in the show, which character would you be?
Probly the genie because he's really funny and he does these really funny magic things, like in the cave of wonders when he sings his song with jokes in between. He is so funny!
How did the show make you feel when it was finished?
Very sad because i wanted it to carry on.
Would you want to see it again and, if so, who would you take this time?
Of course! I would take my mum and dad! Really, I would take anyone. It was the best show I've seen since I've seen shows. It was literally the best show ever.
View our show pages for more information about Aladdin, Prince Edward Theatre.
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