Mind-blowing sets, jaw-dropping lavish costumes, show-stopping performances, eye-popping visual effects and the feeling of wondrous joy that only Disney can evoke is what you can expect with the hit Broadway musical Aladdin. It is nothing short of spectacular.
The fabulous and effervescent Genie (Anthony Murphy) appeared on stage and the audience erupted with applause. A sea of laughter followed as he teased us by pulling a bottle of Vegemite from his pantaloon pocket instead of his iconic lamp. With us in the palm of his hand, he drew us closer as the curtain rose, and our focus was cast beyond him. We had been transported into the colourful, vibrant and exotic world of Agrabah with the opening number of ‘Arabian Nights’.
‘One Jump Ahead’ followed with street rat Aladdin (Ainsley Melham) running through the bustling marketplace and scaling rooftops with his stolen bread under arm whilst under a sword-wielding chase. The audience was mesmerised.
The Australian production boasted a cast of 34 and a staggering 337 glittering costumes which featured 1,225 vibrant different fabrics, 712 different styles of beads and more than 500,000 Swarovski crystals. At times the sparkles were blinding and with such an array of colours dancing over the stage, it was truly a feast for the eyes.
The stand out performance in the first act was without a doubt ‘Friend Like Me’. The Cave of Wonders was breath-taking with its floor-to-ceiling glistening gold and was the perfect backdrop for the entrance of the hilariously flamboyant and over-the-top Genie who had appeared from the lamp to grant three wishes to the new lamp master. Aladdin asked “Are you from the lamp?” and Genie replied “No I’m from Ipswich!” As he showcased his wish-granting magic the spectacular stage morphed and changed as the electrifying and mammoth number built to a climax of tap dancing and a pyrotechnic finish. There were screams, applause and whistling for minutes before the show continued as we all marvelled and wished we had a fabulous friend like Genie.
This stage adaptation of the film had a couple of changes to the cast which saw Aladdin’s sidekick the monkey Abu being replaced by his group of friends Omar (Max Bimbi), Kassim (Adam-Jon Fiorentino) and Babkak (Troy Sussman) with their light-hearted and mischievous antics. Jafar’s (Adam Murphy) sidekick the parrot lago (Aljin Abella) was no longer a feathered fiend but now a monkey-looking character who continually parroted Jafar, much to his irritation. They made the perfect evil duo with their devilish laughs and at one point Jafar said “I feel an evil laugh coming on” and the two proceeded to have a ‘laugh-off’ on stage, which in turn infected the audience with raucous laughter.
The cast performances were powerful and perfectly captured the film’s characters as they brought them to life on the stage. The ensemble was flawless and their dance routines exhilarating. The costumes and sets were out of this world and the iconic music performed to absolute Disney perfection produced entire audience sing-a-longs.
The absolute highlight of the performance was in Act 2 when the magic carpet scene was incredibly brought to life in the award-winning ‘A Whole New World’ by headstrong Jasmine (Hiba Elchikhe) and Aladdin posed as Prince Ali. The backdrop was a dark night sky with a glistening moon and the brightest of stars, then suddenly the magic carpet took flight. There were audible gasps from the audience and we watched in wonder as the pair sang in perfect harmony while floating on the carpet in the most amazing optical illusion. We were transfixed and for a moment everything fell away as we witnessed pure Disney magic at its best, and were left wondering how they actually did that.
With its iconic songs, classic humour, a daring adventure and timeless romance this hit Broadway musical adaptation of Aladdin is magnificent. People of all ages can expect to be enchanted and have their mind blown. It is definitely not one to miss. Final tickets have just been released and the show must end on Sunday 3 June.
Head over here to purchase your tickets, you will not be disappointed. Who knows, you may just get exactly what you wish for.