The unpredictable magic of the 1992 animation, the high-energy stylings of Robin Williams and a memorable musical number on-top a flying carpet, is not easy to replicate live. Disney however, has a live action, fool proof formula that miraculously leaves the legacy of its animated counterpart intact whilst it rehashes a Whole New World.
No Disney dollars have been spared in this production. The multicoloured sets and a revolving door of cast and costumes will propel each scene into a party, in which the audience will (at the very least) be toe tapping to unfamiliar tracks.
As you enter Agrabah, a place of “more glitz and glamour than any other fictional city in the world” it is clear that the point of Aladdin is to dumfound its audience with spectacle. Its plot is secondary.
Thanks to the common place pantomime, audiences are well versed in Aladdin’s story. Ragamuffin Aladdin (Dean John-Wilson) falls in love with princess Jasmin (Jade Ewen) and attempts to win her heart with the help of a genie. Meanwhile, the sultan's Grand Vizier (Don Gallagher) plots to take over Agrabah.
Unlike the animation, Jafar's pet parrot, Lago has been switched for a Weasley human sidekick. While Aladdin’s monkey, Abu has been replaced with three friendly thieves of Agrabah. The human counterparts have a few gags to remind die hard Disney fans of the exchange but overall is not a huge sacrifice. Aladdin’s new crew bring the old school, pantomime-esque jokes to the big budget production and their new musical number, High Adventure is a bonus to the movies original score.
Overall, what is meek in terms of its story is made up for in pure magic. Director and choreographer, Casey Nicholaw build multiple memorable sequences that make this show an unbridled hit. Ultimately, it is Trevor Dion Nicholas who steals the show. When Aladdin’s genie pops up through the floor to sing the iconic Friend Like Me number, you will be inundated with glee.
Whilst Robbin Williams brought the zany fun to the fast-paced animation, Trevor Dion Nicholas is an incredible singer and entertainer. His physical performance teamed with his honey-toned voice shapes a joyous production that could not disappoint the most jaded Disney fan.
The visual stylings of Bob Crowley paired with illusion designer, Jim Steinmeyer sees that Aladdin’s cave and carpet keep audiences suspended in Disney magic. It is hard to fault a production that sticks to the script and bombards you with glitz and glamour. Aladdin remains a class act throughout his journey from the ghetto to the palace and if you favour musicals, this is not one to miss.