Show of hands, who didn’t like Aladdin as a child? I certainly did. Needless to say, when Aladdin was announced to make a transfer from Broadway to the West End, the hype was endless. In fact, it was so popular, I couldn’t get hold of a ticket for the premier when I tried to book a ticket 7 months in advance! It is, after all, a perfect opportunity to relive childhood memories or to introduce your children to the story you yourself enjoyed.
The musical remained faithful to the story of the Disney version of Aladdin. So, there is little to say about the plot. Relatively speaking, the performance was fast paced and at no particular point did it come across as dull. The performance given by Trevor Dion Nicholas (as Genie) deserves much praise. I would be very surprised if Nicholas was not nominated for the Lawrence Olivier award for his work in this musical. I wondered how the directors would introduce the Genie and his magically appearance from within the lamp. These were all very well done and clever. Other than Nicholas, I think Don Gallagher (Jafar) and Peter Howe (Iago) deserve much applause too. In fact, the three mentioned actors outshone the Jasmine and Aladdin.
“A whole new world” is probably one of the most iconic songs from the original Aladdin movie. The flight on the magic carpet through the night sky, lit up with starlights and endless romance in the air. The magic carpet scene was without a doubt, magical, but I did not think Jasmine and Aladdin’s passion and love for each other came through with the particular performance I attended.
While I was thoroughly entertained by the show, there are certain aspects that I did not enjoy. The supposedly action packed scenes with the guards chasing Aladdin through the street and the three friends Aladdin storming the palace were extremely clunky. The sword fights were forced, slow and unnatural. In fact, the fights were so off, they distracted me from all the other aspects of the performance at the time. Overall, despite introduction of original scores, this musical failed to establish its own identify from its movie counterpart, much like other Disney stage adaptations such as the Lion King. Ultimately, this show’s success can be attributed to its magical element and the audiences’ desire to relive fond child memories.
Overall rating: 2.5/5