Prince Edward Theatre, London
Thursday 21st December 2017

Having opened up at The Prince Edward Theatre in London since June 2016, Disney’s Aladdin has been hailed as a spectacular hit musical wowing audiences ever since it opened. This production has though been hit with criticism since though from the public, with the premise that the musical is more like a high quality pantomime then a musical, which is why I have always been more wary of it, but after watching this production, I would safely debunk those comments as apart from one interaction with the audience, I found Aladdin to be every inch of a musical and earn it’s rightful place in the West End.

Now with such a hugely successful movie from the disney franchise, transferring it onto stage and giving off the same magic as there is in the film comes with huge expectations from the audience, and though you cannot physically fit a genie inside of a lamp, this musical really pulls out all the stops to give its audience, especially for the children, a theatrical experience they will hopefully remember for a long time. I personally felt draw into the world created on stage when it came to the incredibly famous ‘A Whole New World’, to which is put to the motion of Aladdin and Jasmine on stage, and even though you my think you know how it’s done, as I think I did during the performance, I was knocked sideways and genuinely for a second believed the magic that was taken place.

Along with the huge expectations of things such as the flying carpet, comes the casting for the main leads, Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, where for me this is where the production failed to deliver. I personally felt such a lack of charisma from Jade Ewen, who portrayed Jasmine, so much that her performance started to grate on me, especially when singing to which I found trouble in acting being able to hear the words she was delivering. Matthew Crooke as Aladdin for me just felt lost in the hussle of sequences and beautiful sets that I completely lost focus of him at times and felt some numbers to be half performed with no real commitment, which really didn’t help create the chemistry with Ewen.

What for me though really did save this production was the wonderful ensemble, who were stunningly dressed by Costume Designer Gregg Barnes, who for me earns himself total credit for helping transporting the whole audience into this magical world that he has created with the bright colours and attention to the eye. Along with lighting designer Natasha Katz, again the scenery and characteristics of the landscapes on stage really stood out for me in moments where I felt myself not sticking with the dialogue. The cave in particular is beautifully lit with so much precision, which gave Oliver Lidert, who portrayed the Genie in this particular performance, so much room to bounce around with his spectacular vision on the classic character, who was voiced by the late and great Robin Williams.

Overall, though I would love to give Aladdin more credit, I felt as though the crucial chemistry that Aladdin and Jasmine must deliver on stage sadly fell short of being anything but magical, with the costume and set being the real highlight of this adaptation of the 1992 classic disney film.


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