The South Bank Review Winter 2017 | The West End Aladdin Musical
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The West End Aladdin Musical

Photo credit: Aruba Abbas

Aladdin, a classic Disney story, where boy meets girl, brought to the West End in a live musical with the dominating element of tear surging comedy throughout the play, serving as a great entertainment from young to old. The vibrant colours and energy on stage were just beautiful. Though, I can’t deny that I easily forgot I was sitting through Aladdin on many occasions, much of the 1992 film version was discarded. Aladdin is a film about a young poor ‘street rat’ (Mathew Croke) from the city of Agrabah who comes across a beautiful Asian princess (Jade Ewen), daughter of the Sultan. The princess Jasmine has fled her home to avoid her marriage to a suitor chosen by her father. In an attempt to save the princess from this fate, Aladdin summons a Genie (Trevor Dion Nicholas) and uses his wishes to transform himself, from a pauper to a prince. Though he is faced with challenges from the evil Jafar,  Aladdin overcomes them and marries Jasmine. A good ending for most as the genie is granted his long-awaited freedom, Jasmine allowed to choose her own suitor and Aladdin accepted as a lover for Jasmine.

The performance of the most famous Aladdin song ‘A Whole New World’ was spectacularly staged. The flying carpet scene is one I am sure all viewers were anticipating, I certainly was, I was particularly curious as to how it would be interpreted onto a live stage. I admit I was pleasantly surprised as it left it left me in awe, and it definitely lived up to its anticipation. However, I much more expected from the song. The passion from the actual song was lacking, it was more like a quick choir performance in which people appear to be shouting over each other. The passion of the song in the 1992 film version of Aladdin sung by Lea Salonga and Brad Kane beguiles the listener, fills the viewer with a high level of passion making the relationship between Aladdin and Jasmine prevalent. Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed in the recent West End musical sadly did not meet the standards of the earlier version, they lacked intimacy and order. Anyone with a good understanding of the movie knows that this was the most famous scene and the fact that the song was changed so much, and not in a way that it was improved was very disappointing. Despite the lack of intimacy between the two, undeniably the visuals made compensated for it, making it a beautiful performance. Outstanding staging, unforgettable acting, and an overall incredible production, ranking itself alongside the world renown Disney musical, The Lion King. As a result, I would recommend this musical to anyone in search for a retelling of a classic story and appreciation for good art.

Aruba Mariah Abbas
abbasa6@lsbu.ac.uk

Aruba Mariah Abbas, a student of London South Bank from Essex found her love for literature quite late in her academic school life through the thorough study of the works of William Shakespeare.