Aladdin Prince Edward Theatre Dean John-Wilson (Aladdin) and Jade Ewen (Jasmine) Photographer Deen van Meer © Disney
Aladdin is a true crowd pleaser, a fast paced and frenetic musical that is beautifully performed.
There is something fascinating about being part of an audience that has its childhood expectations perched precariously on the edge of a cliff. Despite wanting desperately to enjoy it for what it is, the inner child in all of us would like to be transported back to the moment the animation first graced our eyeballs. As we seem to be in an age of reboots this loaded experience is becoming a regular occurrence from Matilda to Star Wars. Similarly to Star Wars, this version of Aladdin knew what it had to get right and in all of those aspects it delivers.
Aladdin Prince Edward Theatre Trevor Dion Nicholas (Genie) Photographer Deen van Meer © Disney
Dean John-Wilson, who brings a warm and nerdy portrayal to the protagonist, plays Aladdin. The show rests on his charisma and likeability, which he brings in spades.
Dean John-Wilson, who brings a warm and nerdy portrayal to the protagonist, plays Aladdin. The show rests on his charisma and likeability, which he brings in spades. His singing voice is beautifully smooth and understated but although he has a few additional solos he never gets to show us what he can do with his range. As with the animation the show is stolen by the Genie and Trevor Dion Nicholas makes off with it from the second he appears. His presence is electric, the first number Friend Like Me brought the house down and rightfully won a standing ovation. It has to be said the show is funny but Nicholas had the audience bellowing. A mention should also be given to the magic carpet ride duet, which was outstanding both stylistically and technically, the audience cooed throughout.
Aladdin Prince Edward Theatre Jade Ewen (Jasmine) and company Photographer Deen van Meer. © Disney
As with the animation the show is stolen by the Genie and Trevor Dion Nicholas makes off with it from the second he appears. His presence is electric.
I found there were several tensions in the play in it’s attempt to be a high quality family friendly extravaganza but not to touch too heavily upon the fun but ubiquitous Aladdin pantomimes that occur around the country. So despite having a non-existent fourth wall and a lack of real peril, however, the sets are stunning and dance numbers are lavishly performed by a superb and diverse ensemble. Where I think it should have pushed a few more boundaries is with Aladdin’s character arc. The motivation of him wanting to do his parents proud is set up early in the show but is never really fleshed out. I think the opportunity was missed to use this retelling to give us real background into the Street Rat’s yearning to succeed.
Aladdin is a true crowd pleaser, a fast paced and frenetic musical that is beautifully performed. It lived up to the expectations of this reviewer’s inner child, if maybe not exceeding them, but is a highly recommended family trip.
Info: Aladdin is at the Prince Edward Theatre | booking tickets until 11 February 2017 | book tickets