Review by CJ
Ainsley Melham, Michael James Scott, Hiba Elchikhe, Adam-Jon Fiorentino, Troy Sussman, Robert Tripolino, Adam Murphy, Aljin Abella, George Henare
Her Majesty’s Theatre (Melbourne, Australia)
Arabian Nights. One Jump Ahead. Proud of Your Boy. These Palace Walls. Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim. A Million Miles Away. Diamond in the Rough. Friend Like Me. Act One Finale (Friend Like Me Reprise/Proud of Your Boy Reprise). Prince Ali. A Whole New World. High Adventure. Somebody’s Got Your Back. Proud of Your Boy (Reprise II). Prince Ali (Sultan Reprise). Prince Ali (Jafar Reprise). Finale Ultimo (Arabian Nights Reprise/A Whole New World Reprise).
A young man named Aladdin (Melham) lives on what he can steal with his three friends Kassim (Fiorentino), Babkak (Sussman) and Omar (Tripolino). That is until chance encounters with Princess Jasmine (Elchikhe) and a magical genie (Scott) throw their lives completely off course.
Okay, let’s be honest. When we’re (I’m) talking about Disney, the word magical gets thrown around a lot (by me). But even ignoring the fact that there is actual magic featured in Aladdin the Musical, it. is. magical.
The cast are all fantastic in their roles. No exceptions.
I was dubious that anyone who isn’t Robin Williams could impress me as Genie, but Aladdin the Musical offers a new take on the role while maintaining the character’s integrity. Scott’s Genie is flamboyant, fun and mesmerising whenever he is onstage.
Melham is a delight to watch as Aladdin. His voice is clear and strong, his dancing on point, and his acting and reacting a delight to watch.
Elchikhe is equally entertaining as Princess Jasmine. Jasmine’s sense of wonder, adventure and bravery are well focused on in Aladdin the Musical and Elchikhe portrays them all and so much more with great talent and a beautiful voice.
Murphy and Abella excel as the wicked Jafar and Iago respectively. Murphy’s makeup as Jafar is incredible. I’m not usually one to recognise, let alone praise, a great contour but the crew nailed the “obviously and unashamedly evil” look that we have all come to know and love from Jafar’s animated incarnation.
Fiorentino, Sussman, Tripolino bring to life three characters who I had not previously known as being attached to this story. Thanks to the great work of these three actors, in addition to great writing, I liked these characters immediately. They are all very different but very fun.
The choreography featured in Aladdin the Musical is tight, beautiful and high energy. I could see Aladdin the Musical again and again, purely to watch what is going on in every part of the stage during ensemble numbers. Like many things, the minutiae that take place on stage aren’t given nearly enough credit for forming a whole filled with wonder.
The set design for Aladdin the Musical is stunning. The props, the backdrops, the pyrotechnics, lighting and other effects all come together with the finely tuned cast and costumes to create a visually spectacular event.
Aladdin the Musical has some truly breathtaking costumes and many of them downright steal the show. There are sequins aplenty, feathers galore and, at the very least, 20 thingamabobs.
I cannot praise Aladdin the Musical highly enough or recommend it strongly enough. This is two and a half hours that every Disney fan, theatre fan or lover of great performance art absolutely must see.