Star Rating: ⭐
The classic Disney animated film Aladdin came to stage production at the Prince Edward Theatre after success in America. Aladdin tells the classic tale of two people from differing backgrounds, falling in love, and having to overcome the obstacles keeping them apart. The street urchin Aladdin first falls for the Princess when they meet in the marketplace at Agrabah. With the help of a genie, he wins the princess’ heart. In this stage interpretation, the story follows Aladdin without his animal sidekick Apu. Instead, he has a small group of followers who help him cause mischief throughout the marketplace. The stage production had similarities to the classic 90’s film but Iago was presented as Jafar’s dimwitted accomplice rather than a snarky parrot.
It was surprising, given Disney’s experience with bringing animal characters to the stage (think Lion King) that they did not use the same creativity in Aladdin the musical, especially as you would assume they would wish to differentiate from more traditional re-tellings of the tale as Aladdin is a common Panto production in the UK. From beginning to end, Disney’s Aladdin production was bland in every sense. The story had no emotional impact and lacked any magical ambience particularly in the scene set in the Cave of Wonders. The production was made slightly better when the genie came into the story but even he couldn’t lift the production to the standard of the movie.
The cast and crew did a well thought out of production but in trying too hard to be different to the classic tale it felt clearly disorganised once all the parts were put together and as though everyone was just going through the motions. The stage production including the visual effects and props could have been so much better and might have given the gravitas needed to lift the performance if it had been used cleverly.