Jumping on the bandwagon for the much anticipated release of Disney’s latest reboot of a classic, I decided I just could not wait any longer to see Aladdin on the West End stage and snapped myself up some tickets.
Originally a musical developed in the US, based of course on the Disney animated film released in the early 1990’s, Aladdin is set in the fictitious city of Agrabah. The story follows Aladdin, a cash strapped young chap, who finds a magic lantern in a cave, as one does, and gets granted three wishes by the genie that emerges from the lamp. Being Disney of course, these wishes are used up in attempts to woo the opposite sex and ultimately sabotage the plans of the bad guys.
Opening on the Broadway stage in spring 2014, Aladdin has since become the 12th highest grossing Broadway musical of all time as of May 2019. Like with all good things, they catch on and it was not long before London launched their own genie-us production at the Prince Edward Theatre in 2016. In the role of the genie since the opening show, Trevor Dion Nicholas has provided that now famous genie face on billboards across the capital since day one, and what a credit to the show he is.
Voiced by Robin Williams in the animated feature and played by Will Smith in the live action, 2019 remake, the genie, in any Aladdin production needs to be one of the standout stars. Dressed from tip to toe in vivid colours, garish garments and plenty of sequins, the Genie, as well as the rest of the cast, sparkle from start to finish, in a way only Disney could pull off. With the infectious energy you would expect of any Genie (right?), he plays a huge part in keeping a constant smile on the faces of those in the audience, old and young and maintains consistent toe tapping throughout.
I know the show is Aladdin centric, obviously, and credit to him where credit is due, but when I go to see a show of any sort, I always tend to find a performer in a smaller/non title role that steals the whole show. In this production I really loved the character of Babkak (Leon Craig).
There are some really great promotional offers on Aladdin in the next few weeks before it leaves the West End stage. I picked up front row, grand circle tickets for less than £30 each and the view was perfect for the show. When it comes to picking out a seat, this is definitely one of the shows that looks better from slightly above, to maximise the effects of the magic carpet, and the layout of the theatre suits this perfectly. It is a shame that Aladdin is being kicked out of the Prince Edward Theatre at the end of August, in favour of the revival of the yawn fest that will be Mary Poppins. (Sorry, I just always really hated that film).
Have you seen Aladdin on the stage or the new movie? What did you think?