Australian Dance Reviews

A magic carpet ride to a new world: ‘Aladdin the Musical’

Shubshri Kandiah and Graeme Isaako in 'Aladdin'. Photo by James Green.
Shubshri Kandiah and Graeme Isaako in 'Aladdin'. Photo by James Green.

Festival Theatre, Adelaide.
24 May 2019.

The Disney spectacular, Aladdin the Musical, has been delighting audiences in Adelaide these past few weeks, before it heads off to Singapore. With only two weeks left, it is a must-see for all Disney and musical theatre fans, or anyone who just wants a fun and entertaining night out.

Aladdin is a dazzling display of Disney magic, with all the bells and whistles you’d expect, plus more. The set design of the Cave of Wonders steals the show. Its glittery glamour is truly wonderous, and the many vivid Middle Eastern costumes give a spectacular display of colour and life in every scene. With 337 costumes and 136 individual designs, the costuming is a gorgeous feast for the eyes.

Gareth Jacobs, Graeme Isaako and the 'Aladdin' ensemble. Photography by Deen van Meer and James Green.

Gareth Jacobs, Graeme Isaako and the ‘Aladdin’ ensemble. Photography by Deen van Meer and James Green.

With a magic carpet that actually flys through a starlit night, all the classic songs I love from the 1992 animated film of my childhood, and musical performances from a stellar cast, Aladdin truly is brilliant. And underneath all the fanfare is a powerful story of love, redemption and equal rights. I can’t wipe the smile off my face and the tingles from my arms as I write about it now.

The choreography from Director/Choreographer Casey Nicholaw is a little cliché Arabian/Egyptian at times, but this is perfectly fitting for a Disney production, and it certainly transports us to the fantastical city of Agrabah. It is fun, vibrant and energetic, and the cast kept up with the exhausting, demanding speed. The glittering tap number of “Friend Like Me” is a showstopper! 

Gareth Jacobs is exceptional as the witty, flamboyant Genie. His script is hilarious and cheeky, and Jacobs embodies every word. He was born to play this role, and the moment he enters the story the entire show lifts to soaring heights. Graeme Isaako as Aladdin and Shubshri Kandiah as Jasmine are both consummate performers, beautiful vocalists and just perfect for their roles. Their duet of “A Whole New World” is as spectacular as the stars they soar through.

Aladdin truly did transport us all into a whole new world. As USA Today said, “It’s pure genie-us!”

By Deborah Searle of Dance Informa.

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