Music by Alan Menken.
Book by Chad Beguelin.
Lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice & Chad Beguelin.
Prince Edward Theatre, booking to 2017
28 Old Compton Street, London W1D 4HS
Mon-Sat 7.30pm. Mat Thu, Fri & Sat 2.30pm.
Runs 2hr 30 mins One interval.
TICKETS: 0844 482 5151 & 0806 640 8101 (free).
A lavish magic carpet ride to pantomime land
June is undeniably bursting out all over as this latest Disney animated cartoon turned musical arrives in London, although to open what is more pantomime than musical this long before Christmas is a fascinating commercial decision. The show, however, is lavish even if the story line is hardly a surprise, and the performances are polished with Broadway import Trevor Dion Nicholas as the Genie of the Lamp dominating things with ease.
Large and lumbering, he has tremendous stage presence and right from the start establishes the necessary pantomime rapport with the audience. Unfortunately the plot means he disappears for rather too long in the first half, although when he does return he leads the best song, Friend Like Me, which comes from the film, with mind boggling energy. He even tap dances.
The costumes are all one expects of an Arabian nights fantasy and Bob Crowley’s spectacular sets include the best ever transformation scene when the cave containing the lamp is revealed, a world of glittering gold foil which covers the entire stage.
There is also a most convincing flying carpet on which Aladdin, nicely done by Dean John-Wilson, who has clearly been hard at it in the gym, travels. It’s worth noting that he gives the Princess, proto-feminist Jasmine, Jade Ewen, no mean competitor in the cleavage stakes.
The two fly through the air with the greatest of ease and the strings are impossible to discern.
Aladdin is an orphan, so sadly no dame, but there is plenty of camping about and bad puns, while Don Gallagher as Jafar the evil Vizier who wants the lamp and the girl, is a pantomime villain in the grand tradition of hiss and boo.
The money is undeniably up there on stage and as spectacle it delivers the goods, but as a musical it is a pretty run of the mill affair and for fun not a patch on the movie. It is, in other words, no Lion King but the chances are that carpet will be flying around in OId Compton Street for quite some time to come.
Aladdin: Dean John-Wilson.
Genie: Trevor Dion Nicholas.
Jasmine: Jade Ewen.
Jafar: Don Gallagher.
Iago: Peter Howe.
Sultan: Irvine Iqbal.
Babkak: Nathan Amzi.
Kassim: Stephen-Rahman Hughes.
Omar: Rachid Sabitri.
Attendants: Sadie-jean Shirley/Marsha Songcome.
Fortune Teller: Michelle Chantelle-Hopewell.
Razoul: Ivan de Freitas.
Prince Abdullah: Albey Brookes.
Daniel de Bourg, Albey Brookes, Bianca Cordice, Melanie Elizabeth, Kade Ferraiolo, Ivan de Freitas, Seng Henk Goh, Anthoy Hewittt, Michelle Chantelle Hopewell, Mitch Leow, Ethan le Phong, Thierry Picaut, Alex Pinder, Briony Scarlett, Sadie-Jean Shirley, Sawnbita Smith, Marsha Songcome, Jermaine Woods.
Director/Choreographer: Casey Nicholaw.
Musical Director: Alan Williams.
Costume Design: Gregg Barnes.
Scenic Design: Bob Crowley.
Lighting Design: Natasha Katz.
Sound Design: Ken Travis.
Orchestrations: Danny Troob.
Illusion Design: Jim Steinmeyer.
Special Effects Design: Jeremy Chernick.
Fight Direction: J Allen Suddeth.
Resident Director: Tim English.
UK Associate Choreographer: Ben Clare.