Aladdin, Prince Edward Theatre, review: ‘Disney classic gets a showbizzy staging’

Dean John-Wilson (Aladdin) and Jade Ewen (Jasmine). Picture: Deen van Meer/Disney

Dean John-Wilson (Aladdin) and Jade Ewen (Jasmine). Picture: Deen van Meer/Disney - Credit: Archant

No expense has been spared, no spare expanse of cloth is unsequinned in this unashamedly showbizzy staging of the hit Disney cartoon.

Dean John-Wilson (Aladdin) and Jade Ewen (Jasmine). Picture: Deen van Meer/Disney

Dean John-Wilson (Aladdin) and Jade Ewen (Jasmine). Picture: Deen van Meer/Disney - Credit: Archant

Given the subject there would always be a pantomimic tone to proceedings with a pair of hiss-boo villains in Grand Vizir Jafar and his diminutive sidekick Iago who plot to hijack the sultanate by persuading a ‘rough diamond’ to fetch them a magic lamp in an enchanted cave.

But between all the pyrotchechnics, glittery cozzies and indulgent production numbers Book of Mormon director Casey Nicholaw keeps things fizzing along and pulls off a heartwarming central relationship between the poor motherless boy who dreams big, and feisty Princess Jasmine whose feminist desire extends to choosing her own husband.

Their starlit carpet ride to the Disney anthem, A Whole New World is a technical feat that makes you forget ex-Sugababe Jade Ewen’s slightly thin vocals.

As Aladdin Dean John-Wilson is no mean hoofer or singer but without doubt the show is stolen by Trevor Dion Nicholas as the sassy big talking genie.


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He gets the best numbers from Alan Menken and Howard Ashman and Tim Rice Oscar-winning score, and some welcome comic asides.

Twirling upwards from a trapdoor he fills the stage delivering the jazzy Prince Ali and A Friend Like Me which brazenly and exuberantly segues from a treasure-filled cave into a full tap dancing cane twirling Broadway walk down.

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Aladdin’s trio of pals who hoik him out of tight spots also offer comic relief and take part in some cartoonishly choreographed sequences fleeing and fighting the palace guards.

With female heads uncovered and sparkly bellybuttons on show this is definitely Disney’s version of the Islamic world, more Arabia lite than Arabian Nights but you can’t help be swept along by its sheer energy.

Aladdin is at the Prince Edward Theatre

Rating: 4/5 stars

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