Time Out says
Trevor Dion Nicholas's Genie is worth the price of admission in this slightly confused Disney almost-panto
They don’t really have pantomimes in the US, which may explain why the creatives behind this hit Broadway adaptation of Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ made a pantomime, probably without realising.
There’s no Widow Twankey or Wishee Washee, but Alan Menken’s musical gives you the same things as a decent British panto ‘Aladdin’: lavish set pieces (designer Bob Crowley has done some impressive things); campy, knowing, fourth wall-breaking humour; songs (obvs); a magic carpet sequence; a dull hero (Dean John-Wilson’s prominent man-cleavage is the most memorable bit of his performance); a ludicrously OTT villain (Don Gallagher’s Jafar laps up the boos at curtain call); and a scene-stealing dame (more later).
It’s well done, but talk about selling coals to Newcastle: the humour hits the spot with Howard Ashman’s dry lyrics, but it lacks the inspired madness of, say, the Hackney Empire panto. Alongside the other big West End Disney musical, Julie Taymor’s ‘The Lion King’, it struggles to establish a distinct, theatrical identity. And my mind boggled at how the diverse, largely British cast has had bland American accents foisted upon them to play Middle Eastern characters.
One decision producers won’t be regretting is importing star of the Broadway show Trevor Dion Nicholas as Genie. The role could have been something of a poisoned, er, lamp, given Robin Williams’s iconic turn in the 1992 film. But glitter-doused Nicholas makes it his own with a kinetic mix of fabulousness and physicality. He’s the dame, basically, and he's staggeringly good. In fact, his big showstoppers ‘Friend Like Me’ and ‘Prince Ali’ briefly make 'Aladdin' the best musical in the West End, a heroically overextended, all-singing, all-dancing, multi-costume-changing spectacle. If Nicholas doesn’t win an Olivier next year I will eat a metal lamp.
As for the rest of the show – it’ll keep you ticking over until Christmas, but that's it.
This review is from 2016. The cast of 'Aladdin' retains Trevor Dion Nicholas and Jade Ewen as The Genie and Jasmine. Matthew Croke stars as Aladdin, and other new cast members include Miles Barrow, Leon Craig and Daniel de Bourg.
How to get cheap tickets: a limited number of £25 day seats for 'Aladdin' are available from the Prince Edward Theatre at 10am. In person only; get in early to guarantee a ticket.
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3.9 / 5
- 5 star:23
- 4 star:41
- 3 star:14
- 2 star:8
- 1 star:1
Aladdin the musical has great energy largely attributable to the performance of the Genie. He literally steals and owns the show. The stage production is also excellent particularly the cave of wonders. I took my 9 year old daughter who absolutely loved the show and was gripped from start to finish. I'm not an Aladdin aficionado so can't comment on if this stays true to the original Disney animation or the original story. What I can say is that I highly recommend this musical as two and half hours well spent!
I went into this knowing it wouldn't massively be my cup of tea but I can't help but be SO impressed with the production value. The flying carpet ride, the cave of wonders, the costume changes - all AMAZING! Kids will love it and Disney fans or fans of the film of Aladdin will enjoy the nostalgia. No-one could fail to be wow'd by the overall effects and the Genie 100% steals the show. What a voice! What a stage presence!
I was extremely disappointed in this adaptation of one of the greatest movies I grew up with.
Don’t get me wrong the sets were amazing the Genie Amazing but the changes they made took something away from the story we all know and love. I hated what they did to Abu, it just didn’t work for me if they wanted to substitute him for a human they should have done one friend not three! Same with Jasmine and her tiger Raja why did they feel the need to give her three hand maidens!! Also the guy playing Aladdin was extremely weak and didn't bring anything to the character and when it came to the big number of a whole new world it was destroyed the singing was flat with no passion or feeling, I’ve sung it better in the shower and I’m not even trained!!! But Kudos on how they did the magic carpet ride that I can’t fault but I just wish the singing complimented it. I honestly felt I had gone to a standard pantomime and not a Disney production at all. If it wasn’t for the wonderful acting of the Genie and a few of the other supporting parts I would have walked out!
I really enjoyed the show. There is no doubt the genie was the star of this production by a mile. His performance was entrancing and magical, just as it should be. Less can be said for Aladdin, who i thought fitted well as Prince Ali but was far too cool and confident to be street rat, Aladdin. I still give it five stars though as I thought the set design, costumes, choreography and the genie deserve as much. The cave scene is phenomenal!
First things first, let's get this out of the way. Aladdin is one of the best Disney movies that hit the big screen. As a child, I watched it over and over again. I even had the Mega Drive game (one of the best games based on a movie, ever!) So obviously, adapting this to a broadway musical is going to draw a lot of attention/praise/critisism!
Overall, the musical was great. The crowd were especially pumped to see this one, especially the Genie! The songs from the movie were adapted very well, with great attention and detail put on Friend Like Me. In fact, the entire Cave Of Wonders scene blew the rest of the musical away. Its almost worth it for this one section. The props, music and comedy in this section is fantastic. A Whole New World also saw great treatment, rather more understated and classicaly magical.
James Monroe Iglehart is the star of this show, and he was on top form. The other cast are well rounded, though I felt the new songs fell a little flat compared to the other well loved and known songs. Also lacking from the cast is a certain little monkey and a slightly more animated carpet. Some of the extra cast (namely Aladdin's street rat friends) felt like filler and felt a little unnesesary.
Every good Disney film is not just merited on its heroes but also its Villain, and Jafar was well played. However, the second act felt a little rushed, especially the ending. In the film, Jafar's three wishes are almost as important as Aladdin's and this could have been played a little more sinisterly, but before you knew it he had squadered his wishes all a little too quickly and the cast were bowing out.
Overall, the musical is great. Missing favourites from the film detract from the slightly filler cast, but the scene stealing middle section really takes the biscuit and makes it well worth seeing.
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening. Yes, there are a couple of slow moments and the odd dud song but the staging was beautiful and the overall experience was pretty magical. My daughter was open mouthed and awestruck for most of the show. The magic carpet has to be seen to be believed. And the genie was a show stealer.
Aladdin is my favourite Disney animated classic, so I was an easy sell. I can't pretend that I wasn't disappointed that memorable characters like Abu, Raja, Iago and Carpet had been replaced or significantly altered, but once you get past that (if you even need to) you get to enjoy the new additions as well as your old favourites in a brand new format. There are hits and misses with the new songs, but 'Friend Like Me' is the undeniable standout, and the show knows it. With all of the additional material packed in, the ending felt a little rushed, but overall it's a great time at the theatre.
Perhaps I made the rookie mistake of watching the original movie in anticipation of the stage show which didn't hit all the same marks. Nonetheless, I still had goosebumps in the Cave of Wonders and the friends 'Friends like me' scene was a triumph. Great spectacle and full of fun.
It's a solid 3 stars. I really wanted to enjoy it, and after leaving the theatre I felt that there was something wrong which at the time I couldn't quite pin point.
The problem for me is Aladdin isn't strong enough; was it because he didn't have Abu as his side kick? Or was it because Aladdin in the original movie came across as vulnerable and timid at times, whilst on stage The performance came across too cocky and self sure - that's not my interpretation of his Character.
I was also left under-whelmed by what should have been a show stopping A Whole New World. His voice wasn't strong enough. The scene was only carried by an amazing set and of course magic carpet.
It's certainly carried by the second half, if Genie hadn't been let out of his bottle when he was I think I'd have had to reach for the matches to keep my eyes open. His performance is show stopping. Quite literally. If it wasn't Disney and such an iconic Film to Theatre adaption I'd worry for its longevity post Trevor Dion-Nicholas as the Genie.
Despite my critisms, it's still definitely worth going - grab a ticket before the Genie has his third wish and is free to go back to the US.
I went along with my sister, having been big Aladdin fans as kids. It was mesmerising, the magic carpet scene was incredible and the Genie stole the show. Overall a fantastic musical for any Disney lovers, wasn't 100% sold on the slap stick humor, felt it cheapened it , but would definitely recommend and I would go again!
This is Disney at its best - the colour and vibrancy is simply breathtaking!! From start to finish this is a fast paced show, incredibly slilck and visually spectacular. The sets are astonishing - just wait until you see the cave scene - this is like the finale to the show.....and is only half way through! It was gob smacking!
The genie is simply genius, as everyone is saying!! The way he moves across the stage, has everyone in tha palm of his hand from the outset, and is funny, warm and genuine all at the same time, is incredible. As for the cartwheel....
My five year old guest was completely captivated. Having asked if there was going to be a magic carpet, when it appeared it was a show stopper.
This is a must see, you won't be disappointed!!
I loved every minute of this show. The Genie, by far is the star of the show and the production amazing, with some really great effects throughout. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole show and would most definitely recommend it to any Disney enthusiast.
Oh yes - what a good night out. This show looks and feels a million dollars. I dare say Disney spent more than that to put on this production. Everything sparkles. The sets , the costumes and the wonderful cast.
The Genie totally steals it , putting Aladdin somewhat in the shade - although they are both excellent.
Its not a classic in the way you might think of Phantom or Les Miserables but just as they have a falling chandelier and a barricade , so Aladdin has a magic carpet .... and its truly magic. No support as in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or wires as in Mary Poppins. Someone please explain how it works.
On leaving the theatre I walked along Shaftesbury Avenue and ran into a family who had also seen the show. The young man clutching his programme told me it was the best thing he had seen. I asked what other shows he had seen and he said .... "No not shows, everything ... Television, Gameboy and Cinema" Now thats a 5 star review coming from a kid, so I am giving it the same.
What a GREAT show
Aladdin has made it across the Atlantic , complete with its astonishingly good Genie.
On the way it seems to have collected even more sparkle and energy .... and a good deal of British humour.
Simply loved it.
Absolutely fantastic, colourful, visually impressive and outstanding performances and production.
Seeing Aladdin 'in real life' transported me to my childhood.
The songs gave me goosebumps and the genie will make you laugh each time he comes on stage.
For the first time ever Ive seen an impressive and well deserved standing ovation in the middle of the first act.
One of the best musicals in London!
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