ANTICIPATION and excitement were in the air before the curtain rose for the opening of Aladdin the Musical at Crown Theatre Perth last night.
And it was immediately rewarded by the thrill this Disney production delivers.
When jazzy Genie (Gareth Jacobs) made his highly entertaining entrance for opening number Arabian Nights, the crowd erupted and lapped up lines from “Even the poor people look fabulous” to “Did I mention, everybody sings?” which the cast does with great gusto and talent.
It is six packs galore from the ensemble, along with WAAPA graduate Ainsley Melham who has the charismatic looks and cheeky personality to portray title character Aladdin flawlessly.
Fans of Aladdin’s faithful monkey sidekick Abu from the film can rest assured that despite his absence from the cast, he does not go unforgotten, and his trio of friends in Kassim, Babkak and Omar do a wonderful job instead.
Perth-born Shubshri Kandiah has joined the cast as Princess Jasmine, a spirited role she was destined to play and does so with strength and beauty.
What would any Disney story be without a villain and Adam Murphy as Jafar and Aljin Abella in the role of Iago (sans feathers) are the perfect antagonists.
By going back to some of the key elements originally conceived, before being discarded for the film, the Broadway creatives produced a sophisticated musical for all ages.
And while the five cherished songs from the film are standouts, it is the inclusion of new songs like Aladdin’s Proud of Your Boy and Jasmine’s These Palace Walls that add depth to the musical, not explored in full during the animated feature.
The tap dancing Friend Like Me extravaganza in the gloriously golden Cave of Wonders is an assault on the senses (in a good way) and left the audience almost as breathless as the performers.
It received a standing ovation, despite only being towards the close of the first act.
Prince Ali at the beginning of the second act is another show stopping number before the simply magical carpet ride for A Whole New World captivates in the production rich with sentimentality.
This Disney theatrical marvel has joy, laughs and romance in abundance, and it is impossible to stop smiling whenever Jacobs is on stage.
Aladdin may take the lamp but Genie steals the show.
Aladdin the Musical is on at Crown Theatre Perth until October 28.