There has been a lot of excitement and, dare I say, hype surrounding Aladdin. It is a classic story and people have a lot of affection for it, whether it be the pantomimes they saw as a child or the Disney film, on which this production is based. There is so much expectation for this to be good and it more than meets it.
The highlight is Trevor Dion Nicholas as the Genie, it is no wonder he has transferred from the Broadway production. He has embraced the British panto tradition as well as British references and his early introduction to the show is a reassurance that the show will be as good a time as the bright colours of Gregg Barnes’ costumes and Bob Crowley’s (one of my favourite set designers) extravagant sets suggest.
I have a confession to make; I have never seen the film so I cannot compare the two but I can say that this show makes it feel like Panto season has started early. There’s cheers, there’s jeers, there’s wolf whistles at the dancers. It is as campy and fantastic as you would expect from a West End musical in Old Compton Street but it also has some depth. There’s a fantastic pairing in Dean John-Wilson and Jade Ewen as Aladdin and Jasmine, who have real chemistry and really complement each other on duets ‘A Million Miles’ and the most famous song ‘A Whole New World’, which is sung whilst they ride a magic carpet! Dean really holds his own and seemed extremely settled and comfortable in the role, I hope he is around for a while but I feel for whoever has to replace him when the time comes as he made the role (and waistcoat) his own.
Don Gallagher and Peter Howe’s Jafar and Iago really embrace the flamboyant villain role and work wonderfully alongside the Sultan, Jasmine’s father, played by Irvine Iqbal. I would love to see Gallagher as a Panto dame! There is also great support and it feels very much about the ensemble, even the incredible Trevor Dion Nicholas needs to the dancers to make his finest song ‘Friend Like Me’ work. It is a really talented and multicultural cast with great comic timing from Michelle Chantelle Hopewell as the Fortune-Teller and Babkak played by Nathan Amzi.
Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre is a hot ticket so I don’t need to urge to go out there and buy it but if you are having any doubts leave them at home and embrace your inner Arabic belly dancer and have a fantastic night out in this beautiful theatre
Please note: Opinions expressed on the londontheatredirect.com blog are those of the relevant contributors, not of London Theatre Direct Ltd, its owners or staff. London Theatre Direct Ltd is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by contributors.