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Thursday, 8 September 2016

The other day I was offered a free ticket to see Aladdin the Musical at the Prince Edward Theatre in London. Aladdin was my favourite Disney film as a child, so naturally I jumped at the opportunity. I've always loved going to musicals, but there was something magical about going to see a childhood favourite brought to life on stage.

The Set

The set for Aladdin the Musical is without a doubt the most impressive one I've seen to date. Not only is it one of the largest sets I've seen, but it has been brilliantly designed and thought out too. With 30ft palace gates towering beyond sight, a flying carpet, a true cave of wonders (which uses the same gold colouring as used on C-3PO!) and some theatrical tricks of the trade, you'll believe that what you're seeing really is magic. While the cave of wonders was exactly as its name suggests, many would agree that the true star of the show (when it comes to the set) was the magic carpet ride. Bob Crowley's design paired with illusionist Jim Steinmeyer's know-how has produced the most technically impressive scene in the entire show (and in any I've ever seen). The attractive costumes are equally as impressive, and add to the beautiful set, and the production as a whole (fun fact: there were around 10,000 Swarovski Crystals on just one pair of trousers!). Everyone involved really went above and beyond to create a truly magical set, making you feel like you've hopped a flight straight to Agrabah. 

The Music

The music, by Alan Menken, includes the much-loved songs from the original Disney film (with a few minor tweaks), as well as some that were cut from the classic animation. 'Proud of Your Boy' is one such example, and was beautifully performed by Dean John-Wilson as Aladdin. However, 'Friend Like Me' was definitely the showstopper. I was hesitant going to watch the show, as I wasn't sure anyone could live up to Robin Williams' interpretation of the Genie. Oh how wrong I was! Trevor Dion Nicholas plays the part as if he were made for it, and takes the beloved song 'Friend Like Me' (arguably the most popular and well known song from the Disney classic, next to 'A Whole New World') in his stride, giving a very memorable and entertaining performance which was met with an almost endless round of applause. You're bound to end up with at least one song stuck in your head for days after this musical.

The Performance

When the orchestra strikes up and the curtains rise, you're soon transported to the hustle and bustle of Agrabah's market place, and led through this magical and much loved story. I don't want to give too much away about the actual content of the performance, but I will tell you that it's full of love, laughter and (of course) a happily ever after. As I mentioned above, Trevor Dion Nicholas' performance as the Genie is brilliant and well worth the watch, but all of the cast (and crew) involved in the production of Aladdin the Musical deserve a pat on the back for bringing this magical story to life. Even Jafar and Iago were a welcome presence in the performance, and never failed to exit the stage without an obligatory maniacal laugh or two. 

It's taken Disney a long time to bring Aladdin to the stage, and while it's divided critics (with some saying it's merely a panto without a Dame), it's been well-received by the public. The musical has earned around $6.2 billion dollars worldwide, broken records and has opened on Broadway, the West End and recently in Sydney. With many a musical number, and plenty of comedic moments for good measure, Aladdin the Musical makes for a very entertaining night out. Naturally, not everyone will love the show (everyone has different tastes after all) but I definitely think it's worth the watch, especially if, like me, you grew up with the classic Disney animation.

"Like so many things, it is not what is outside, but what is inside that counts." 
- Aladdin 

 Shout out to Pexels for having some pictures I could use as I forgot to take some for this post while I was there!
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