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ALADDIN THE MUSICAL gets 10/10 Magic carpet rides

Aladdin (Ainsley Melham) and Jasmine (Shubshri Kandiah) wedding – Photo by James Green

Directed by Casey Nicholaw
Starring Ainsley Melham, Gareth Jacobs, Shubshri Kandiah, Adam Murphy and Aljin Abella

10/10

Aladdin the Musical is nothing short of extraordinary and an absolute must-see. A perfect score is not given lightly, but as possibly the best show to ever grace Perth, it is totally worthy. Aladdin is faultless, full of magical moments which will linger forevermore in nostalgic memories, and will leave audience goers yearning to watch it time and again before it leaves us with nothing but faded memories and adoration in our hearts.

Aladdin (Ainsley Melham and Lamp) – Photo by Deen van Meer

For the few who are unfamiliar with the age old Disney tale, Aladdin is both a feminist tale about fighting for your right as a self-defined woman, while also allowing for a beautiful love story. Princess Jasmine is famously the first Disney princess in the studios’ 55 year history who wasn’t white or European. It’s important content, and an enduring love story which defies the ages. And who can forget Robin Williams as the genie, in one of our most loved roles? These are gigantic shoes to fill, but the cast does so sublimely.

Ainsley Melham is enchanting as Aladdin, and his wherewithal deserves plaudits for enduring his undoubtedly gruelling 2 hours onstage, all the while performing with panache and endearing glee. Gareth Jacobs’ Genie is delectably camp and sassy, and utterly deserved the standing ovation for Friend Like Me, in the stage change of the decade that reveals the magnificent Cave of Wonders. It is beyond description, and needs to be experienced first-hand to understand the theatrical awe within that jewelled cave. In a production about royalty, Jacobs’ genie is the supreme queen.

Genie (Gareth Jacobs) with attendants – Photo by Jeff Busby

Aljin Abella as Jafar’s sidekick Iago is irrepressibly lovable, in an absolute standout performance. Playing a parrot as a human, beside an impressively daunting Jafar human is no squawking matter, but he lends volume to the role that is utterly unforgettable. He is a firm favourite, with his only competition being Jacobs’ incomparable Genie.

Energetic and frenetic, it is almost overwhelming for the senses as incredible costuming collides with mind blowing set design and phenomenal physics creating magic on set. Rapid fire costume changes onstage bring awe and wonder. Every step is precious, every note cherished, and just wait for the magic carpet scene. It is beyond your wildest imagining how this is created, but simply revel in it as it happens before you. Let it wash over you and think later.

Friend Like Me ft. Genie (Gareth Jacobs) and Aladdin (Ainsley Melham) -Photo by Deen van Meer

The costumes deserve a worthy mention. All 337 of them, featuring 1225 different fabrics emblazoned with 712 different styles of beads and no less than half a million of blindingly brilliant Swarovski crystals. It’s truly astonishing to witness on a stage.

The direction is flawless, with no movement being squandered, no part of the stage laying waste, and every crisp, exquisite sound perfectly captured by the sound team.

Musically, Aladdin knows exactly what it is about, and this honest self-awareness is both cheeky and refreshing. The opening number includes noteworthy knee slappers which are unforgettable, tone-setting zingers. It’s pure delight that rolls around in self-deprecating warmth. Aladdin is a winter blanket of comforting joy, and that feeling of being cuddled from the stage persists throughout.

It’s rare that we see a perfect production, but Aladdin is it. Make it a priority at once and discover a whole new world of theatrical magnificence.

NATALIE GILES

Arabian Nights – Photo By Deen van Meer

Jasmine (Shubshri-Kandiah) Photo by James Green

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