Sunday, 11 September 2016

tB Reviews: Aladdin the Musical

For some Bank Holiday fun, two weeks my mum, sister and I went to see the new hit West End show – Aladdin, at the Prince Edward Theatre London. Now I had extremely high expectations of this particular show as did my sister. Because being the hardcore Disney fans we are, we needed a nice bit of romance, magic and all of the wonderful songs that Disney has to offer.

I must admit I had very mixed feelings about this one. I cannot say I didn’t enjoy it, but I felt it lacked the class of many of the other West End Productions I’d seen. Let me try to explain myself. So imagine a Christmas panto minus the dame and with a budget of zillions and you get some idea of this musical extravaganza. For those of you who are unaware of the story, Aladdin is a poor boy who falls in love with a princess, Jasmine, and, with the aid of a genie, outwits a wicked vizier to win her hand.

Trevor Dion as the Genie. Photograph: Deen van Meer/ Disney

My favourite character hands down has to be the genie, hands down, played by Trevor Dion Nicholas who was also the original genie in the Broadway production in 2014. He treats the audience as if we were guests at his private party, cart wheeling around the stage and dazzling during the show’s biggest number, 'Never had a friend like me.'

The songs themselves are a mixed bag: the big romantic number ‘A Whole New World’ is completely upstaged by the carpet. Not that I would say the carpet is particularly magical. It’s a rigid and thick apparatus that fly’s quite quickly around the stage distracting the audience from possibly one of the best known Disney love songs. In order to disguise the fly ropes holding the carpet up they have made the scene very dark, which is very fitting with the animated classic, but it was hard to actually seeing anything much with that little lighting.

Dean John Wilson and Jade Ewen as Aladdin and Jasmine. Photograph: Deen van Meer/ Disney

Dean John-Wilson, however, is very a likeable and sensitive Aladdin; and Jade Ewen is a fiery and somewhat spoilt Princess Jasmine. Both of whom were good (not great) but I could not ignore the extremely strong Americanised accents really preventing me from truly believing in their performances. But I enjoyed Don Gallagher as the scheming vizier, Jafar, who brought comic relief styled very much in a pantomime way. He was however to my satisfaction, very much like the Jafar in the Disney animation even if he was slightly more amusing and less scary.

Overall Aladdin was a very enjoyable experience for a Sunday afternoon. I wouldn’t say it is worth possibly going to see for a few more months yet (wait till the prices come down a little), but then I feel at a more affordable price it’s a fun show and will certainly put you in a cheerful mood to start your Monday off. What it isn’t is a serious, high flying West End musical to rival The Lion King or Les Miserables. So be sure to know that before being disappointed.

Do let me know if you have also been lucky enough to see this musical and let me know if you agree or disagree, as I’d be keen to hear your thoughts.

Much Love,
Alissa Marie

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