Aladdin – The Musical Brisbane Review @ QPAC

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'Aladdin – The Musical' 'Aladdin – The Musical' Image © Jeff Busby

Featuring a cast of 34 with hundreds of costumes and an array of dazzling sets, 'Aladdin – The Musical' impresses almost immediately.

From the moment the Genie (Gareth Jacobs) appears centre stage in all his fabulously flamboyant glory, I'm swept away on a magic carpet ride of gargantuan proportions. The streets of Agrabah are stunning; market stalls, stone walls and gorgeous skylines are all elements of this set that bring it to life and give it a heartbeat, not to mention the hurrying villagers rushing about completing their daily chores.

'Arabian Nights' opens the show in a wave of colours and vocal harmonies from the ensemble while 'One Jump Ahead' sees Aladdin (Ainsley Melham) frantically scaling rooftops and hiding from sword-wielding guards after stealing a loaf of bread.

Image © Jeff Busby

The music of 'Aladdin' is classic and wraps itself around the show like a glittering bow, but when you open it up to explore its real marvels and strengths, the most magnificent element of this production is how it looks.

The Cave Of Wonders in particular is everything it should be... A blinding, shining oasis filled with treasures and covered from ceiling to floor with gold. It is also, of course, the home of the Genie's 'Friend Like Me', undoubtedly the greatest part of the evening.

Perhaps I'm not seeing the right shows, but never have I witnessed a standing ovation for a song midway through the first act. The Genie and his dancers present an epic feast for the senses as Aladdin watches in awe, with the final notes of the song triggering a raucous applause that rings out for a few minutes, before the show continues as normal. It's simply astounding to see an audience reaction like this so early on in the show and only sets the rest of the production up for a shimmering success.

Aladdin Friend Like Me
Image © Jeff Busby

What follows is much of the same but in the best way possible; more glitz, more visual spectacle, more brilliant performances from the entirety of the cast. Adam Murphy plays Jafar perfectly... He's terrifying but hysterical next to his clingy sidekick Iago who is most well-known as the villain's parrot but in this show is a short, human pushover who praises Jafar's every move. The pair are completely mismatched, but so mismatched that they're ideal for each other. Their costumes are spot on, too.

George Henare is gorgeous as the Sultan who paints a picture of wise royalty marvellously as he soars along the stage in his expensive turban and robes.

Aladdin Jasmine
Image © Jeff Busby

Aladdin famously sweeps Jasmine (the instantly loveable Hiba Elchikhe) off her feet in a magic carpet ride ('A Whole New World') that doesn't disappoint. Stars sparkle across the stage as the pair magically float through the air in an optical illusion that looks as close to being real as it possibly could.

In closing, 'Aladdin' is a sandstorm of breathtaking visual and aural magic with the skeleton of a well-known Disney film and the flesh and blood of astonishing sets, flamboyant musical numbers and just a hint of enchantment.


'Aladdin – The Musical' plays Queensland Performing Arts Centre until 3 June and Crown Theatre (Perth) from 22 June.



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