The latest Disney smash to get the stage-musical treatment, relive the childhood classic about a thief and fugitive who lies to a girl and her father so he can marry her under a presumed identity, only to break into her home later that night.
That’s right, it’s Aladdin. With a whole bunch of new songs (some written originally for the film), a massive budget, some flashy pyrotechnics and the hits you know and love, the Capitol Theatre’s production packs just enough old and new for a really good night of family entertainment.
Minus Abu, Rajah and an animated carpet, the absence of the 1992 version’s lively entourage is made up for by three of Aladdin’s (Ainsley Melham) mates from the original story (Adam-Jon Fiorention, Troy Sussman and Robert Tripolino), doing their best to double as the Marx brothers. Always a daunting task to follow in the footsteps of Robin Williams, not least of all for his turn as the Genie, Michael James Scott (a stalwart of the Broadway production) does so admirably, turning in a very different but still hilarious take on the lively wish-dispenser.
The new additions to the score never quite measuring up to what came before, Scott’s rendition of ‘Friend Like Me,’ backed by a huge dance cast and some of the more exuberant choreography you are likely to see (reminiscent in no small part of the toe-tapping musicals the fixture of Broadway decades-past) is easily the highlight of the show. Closely followed by ‘A Whole New World,’ Aladdin and Jasmine (Arielle Jacobs) blissfully rise off the stage for the number and fly around against a stunning visual backdrop. Clearly accomplished with some technical ingenuity, the feat is all the more enjoyable for its lithe execution.
The set is too a real star of the show, with one sequence where Aladdin is jumping between buildings only bettered by his discovery of the cave with the treasure horde and subsequent venture inside. Melham, an Australian performer last seen in a local production of Xanadu: The Musical, is an excellent Aladdin. Lively and charming in equal measure, he’s nicely complemented by Jacobs and a solid supporting cast who are evidently having a lot of fun.
A nice family outing with plenty for the kids, as well as fans of the Disney favourite, Aladdin is a spectacle that thankfully does justice to so many of the studio’s greatest hits.
Aladdin The Musical is now playing at the Capitol Theatre, Sydney