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Review: Disney Aladdin, The West End musical at Prince Edward Theatre

PUBLISHED: 16:51 13 June 2018

Aladdin (Matthew Croke) and the Genie (Trevor Dion Nicholas) (c) Deen van Meer

Aladdin (Matthew Croke) and the Genie (Trevor Dion Nicholas) (c) Deen van Meer

Archant

This energetic, riotous adaption of colour, magic and song will have you singing along, tapping your feet and smiling from ear to ear

We’re all familiar with the story of Aladdin: ‘diamond in the rough’ Aladdin meets and falls in love with Princess Jasmine and, with a help from a larger-than-life Genie he gets the chance to prove he’s worthy of her affection. Throw in Jasmine’s sweet yet overbearing father, the Sultan, the Sultan’s evil personal adviser Jafar and Jafar’s trusty side-kick Iago and unfortunately all doesn’t run smoothly for poor Aladdin.

The 1992 Disney animated film holds a special place in many hearts, and it isn’t easy to translate all that magic that many hold so dear onto the stage.

It’s clear that a lot of hard work has gone into the West End show. Award-winning scenic designer Bob Crawley has created spectacular sets and curated mind-blowing special effects. Put that together with the colourful, and jewel encrusted, costumed cast of 30, this production is a feast for the eyes.

Jasmine (Jade Ewen) and Aladdin (Matthew Croke) (c) Johan PerssonJasmine (Jade Ewen) and Aladdin (Matthew Croke) (c) Johan Persson

Remaining true to the tale, with just a few minor details amended to suit the theatre, audiences still get to enjoy the timeless songs, the breathtaking scenery and magic of the story, and the characters we know and love. Abu has been replaced with three cheery, fellow street rats and Iago (fantastically played by Jermaine Woods) is now a loud, impish sort of man who is just as catty, provocative and quick-witted as the parrot we remember from the film.

Voiced by the late Robin Williams, the Genie was the stand-out star of Disney’s 1992 animation, and Trevor Dion Nicholas’ portrayal certainly does the character justice. Dressed head-to-toe in outlandish colour and, of course, covered in sequins and glitter, his infectious exuberance leaves the audience longing for the Genie to spring from the lamp. You just wait to you see the all singing, all dancing spectacle of the show-stopping ‘Friend Like Me’.

Aladdin - the West End musical (c) Deen van MeerAladdin - the West End musical (c) Deen van Meer

Although beautifully sang by Matthew Croke and Jade Ewen, the well-known‘A Whole New World’ was slightly upstaged by the visual splendour that was the magic carpet ride against a bejewelled night’s sky. Illusion designer Jim Steinmeyer created a stunning scene – with no strings in sight!

Moments of mischief and naughty quips added to the magic of the evening, bringing a story told over 20 years ago bang up-to-date. Kudos to Trevor Dion Nicholas for ‘flossing’ – I didn’t think anyone over 21 could do that!

As cheesy as it sounds, it has something to offer audiences young and old. This energetic, riotous adaption of colour, magic and song will have you singing along, tapping your feet and smiling from ear to ear.

Jasmine (Jade Ewen) and Aladdin (Matthew Croke) (c) Johan PerssonJasmine (Jade Ewen) and Aladdin (Matthew Croke) (c) Johan Persson

Aladdin’s global presence has grown to six productions on four continents, and it has been seen by more than 7.2 million people to date.

Opened to critical acclaim at the Prince Edward Theatre on June 15 2016, Aladdin enters its third year at the West End. Aladdin will play Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm with matinee performances on Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm.

Tickets are on sale for performances up to and including September 29 2018 for individuals and February 9 for group bookings.

For more information, and to book tickets, visit aladdinthemusical.co.uk.

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