After great success in London’s West End, Aladdin heads on a UK tour, enthralling all that come with tale of the street rat-turned-prince as charms the princess. Set in Agrabah, we are introduced to the bustling street markets complete with fruit sellers and loud merchants alike. With the opening number Arabian Nights, charming the audience from the get go, it is clear to see that the production is not shying away on its first tour.
A perfect mix of joy, adventure, craziness and heart
It is here where we are presented with our lead protagonist Aladdin (Gavin Adams). Fitting the character with great ease and confidence whilst not overstepping the mark with his cheeky energy, Adams allows us all to feel comfortable whilst causing moments of uncontrollable laughter with his wit and comedic decisions. Aladdin falls in love with the beautiful Princess Jasmine (Desomonda Cathabel). Her purity and defiance in the role shines through as she ensures that Jasmine will not just settle for anyone – no matter their status. The duet of A Whole New World highlights the connection of both Adams and Cathabel as they affirm their characters feelings for each other whilst singing in perfect harmony.
Of course with every Disney production, there is a villain and in this case it is Jafar (Adam Strong) who effortlessly portrays the character with pure vanity and greed for power yet not crossing over into “panto land” behaviour. The star of the show however was the Genie (Yeukayi Ushe) who brings such a breath of fresh air into the well known comical character. From the very beginning of Act 1 straight on until the end of the production, Ushe assures the audience that this role was made for him. Stand out numbers include: Friend Like Me and Prince Ali. His infectious energy creates such joy for the audience to watch which leaves us all committed to every move he makes.
With a production such as this, we would expect a high quality of backdrops, sets and costumes to accompany our performers. This is perfectly brought through the set design and visual effects. From the bustling streets of Agrabah to the Cave of Wonder – no stone is untouched. Every area of the production was granted the wish of vibrancy. From the glistening array of diamonds on our performers costumes, to the enchanting golds and silvers brought into the lamps hidden location, it is clear to see that so much time and care has been placed into the visuals of Aladdin. This production is a wonderful run up to Christmas.
The most notable feature of this production was A Whole New World, complete with the iconic flying carpet. There are many shows that include flying, but none do it with such shock and surprise as Aladdin. It is known from the movies that there is a flying carpet but from what I could see, there was definitely magic used on the stage tonight. With both Aladdin and Jasmine floating in the sky with an array of twinkling stars behind them, it really created the feeling of love between them – whilst making a few of the audience members tear up around me.
All in all, this production of Aladdin is a perfect mix of joy, adventure, craziness and heart. Elements that are needed when creating a beautiful story fitting for all ages. If I had any negatives, it would be that the ending seemed slightly rushed. As Jafar takes his place as the new hierarchy in Agrabah, it is almost a blink and you’ll miss it ending that could have taken more time to conclude. Nevertheless, Aladdin is a show that is not to be missed over the winter season and I look forward to its success as it continues across the UK.