Last night, I headed up to London’s Prince Edward Theatre to catch the brand new shiny production of Disney’s Aladdin - despite the fact that the original movie was released nearly ten years before I was born, I’ve grown up loving it and it’s soundtrack, so I was thrilled to be able to see it in the West End!
The show on the whole is magnificent - the colours of the sets and costumes are absolutely beautiful, somewhat reminiscent of shows like Bend It Like Beckham, Miss Saigon and The Lion King - glittering, vibrant, and lots of fun! You really do feel like you're part of a Disney movie, especially in the scenes that take place in the cave and the marketplace!
In terms of casting, I couldn’t imagine anyone better: Trevor Dion Nicholas is absolutely captivating as the Genie, and I found myself smiling every time he came onstage, regardless of whether he was speaking or not! Jade Ewens and Dean John-Wilson are both wonderful as Jasmine and Aladdin individually, but together they make a beautiful duo; their rendition of 'A Whole New World' might just be my favourite song I've heard this year! (and the magic carpet element, which I won't ruin for you, is absolutely astounding!) That being said, they have a lot of competition from their own show - 'Friend Like Me' is definitely up there with my 2016 favourites! It's so glittery and loud and extravagant, that the whole audience (myself included!) wanted to jump up and join in!
As a dancer myself, one of my favourite part of shows like this is the choreography, and Aladdin certainly didn't disappoint! Casey Nicholaw has done an absolutely stellar job, and I envy anyone who can choreograph tap as fantastically as he did for 'Friend Like Me'! I ought to give a mention to the insanely talented ensemble at this point, because they absolutely made the show - the choreography throughout was so bouncy and light that it completely lifted the show from an average 90s Disney movie, to a fun and enjoyable West End musical.
My only worry before going was that it would be too pantomime-esque, and despite the fact that Aladdin did have a few elements of classic pantomimes, they had picked the best bits to include, so it was nice and tastefully done!
Lastly, I just thought I'd mention the programmes - they're square! They remind me a lot of the big red Miss Saigon souvenir programmes, except they're obviously purple, and a bit smaller!
On the whole Aladdin is a theatrical masterpiece that brings fun and light back to London theatre - I look forward to making many return visits over the coming months and years!
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