Aladdin has always been one of my favourite Disney movies. Mainly because of the Genie, and later still, mainly because of Robin Williams being the Genie. So when I found out the musical was coming to London, I was dead set on getting my hand on some tickets. Which we finally did, back on December 28th 2015. So since then, I’ve been whiling away the time, smiling at every poster that I saw on buses and in the tube. Finally, on Tuesday 7th June, it was time: we were going!!!!
All the way from China Town (where we ate) to the theatre, I was all jumpy and chatty, then when we finally stood in front of the Prince Edward Theatre, I squealed and started taking pictures. There’s a magic lamp outside that you can take pictures with, and we kindly asked someone to do it. As soon as we walked in, I made a beeline for the merchandise and purchased a programme and a mug. I have more than enough mugs, but that one was just too cool to pass up on.
We had cheap tickets, so our seats were in the very last row in the Grand Circle, but I didn’t mind. We could see the stage very well, and were near the toilets, which is always a plus for me. No running like mad at the intermission to beat the inevitably long queue waiting!
As soon as it started, I was sold. The Genie (played by Trevor Dion Nicholas, who was the understudy in the original Broadway show) is just so great you want to get up and boogie with him. There’s a few new songs (by Alan Menken obviously), plus all of your favourites. The costumes and set are absolutely gorgeous, incredibly sparkly and truly breathtaking.
Dean John-Wilson (from Britain’s Got Talent) is Aladdin, and former Sugababe Jade Ewen plays Jasmine. The pair make a cute couple, and both work their American accents like there’s no tomorrow. Aladdin gets three friends who provide easy comic relief instead of Abu, and Jasmine similarly has three maids who instead of Rajah. Iago is also a person instead of a parrot, and the magic carpet barely makes an appearance and does not have a personality.
The Genie throws one pop culture references at you after the other, many of them Disney (we counted a good ten), others from movies, songs and TV shows we all know and love. The first part is outstanding, although the second half feels slightly rushed towards the end, leaving you wanting more.
Fans of Disney, musicals or just people desperate for a laugh should get their hands on some tickets ASAP. The musical has just been extended to February 2017 so there’s plenty of time for you to go. By the way, some pictures in here are from the Broadway show, as there are very little of the West End version as of yet.
Pictures: author’s own, londontheatre.co.uk, bwwstatic.com, westendtheatre.com, thedisneyblog.com, s3.amazonaws.com, culturewhisper.com, rakuten.co.jp