Aladdin (1992) and Aladdin at the West End (2017)

‘Genie, you’re free’

Disney’s 31st animated Disney film directed by John Musker and Ron Clements tells the story of street urchin Aladdin (Scott Weineger) who has been sought after by the Sultan’s Vizier Jafar (Jonothan Freeman) to seek out a magic lamp in the cave of Wonders.

Aladdin is often in trouble and meets the Sultan’s daughter Princess Jasmine (Linda Larkin) who has run away from the palace. They fall in love but Aladdin is then captured by Jafar who forces him to go into the Cave of Wonders. Here, he finds a mysterious lamp, rubs it and meets the Genie (played by the late Robin Williams).

Aladdin has always been one of my favourite Disney films and it has some really memorable songs such as ‘Arabian Nights’ ‘Prince Ali’ and ‘A Whole New World’ and a wonderful selection of characters. I loved the film so much, as soon as I saw it would be running at The Prince Edward Theatre in London, I eagerly suggested my sister Hattie and I go along.

With the same principle storyline Dean John Wilson plays Aladdin on stage. I felt there was more emphasis on the busy market place (as it was on stage compared to film) and the set and costume designers did an amazing job creating the fictional city of  Agrabah with its bright colours and livelyness. Don Gallagher played Jafar whom I prefererred to the animated one as I found it amusing when he got in a bad temper when things wouldn’t go his way and Iago (Peter Howe) would have to encourage him to go back to his happy place. I was particularly impressed by Refor Dion Nicholas’s Genie and I felt he did Robin Williams’ genie justice. Both my sister and I were blown away by the’Friend Like Me’ sequence.  Ex Sugababes singer Jade Ewen played Jasmine and  was good but I think at times her acting was a bit wooden and her singing wasn’t as good as Lea Salonga’s who did the animated Jasmines singing voice.

None the less, it was still a great evening out for the both of us and we would go again and take our youngest sister too. Watching the part at the end when Aladdin frees the Genie  on stage and on film is particularly sad now that Robin Williams has passed away. I thought it was very sweet when an extra song ‘Proud of Your Boy’ was added where Aladdin is talking to his dead mother.

The West End Performance was directed and chereographed by Casey Nicholaw. Alan Menken who worked on other Disney classics such as The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast was in charge of the music in the film.

My rating: 4/5

Never had a friend like me.

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