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A magical evening awaits you at 'ALADDIN - the Broadway musical'.

By Abel Teo  /  29 Jul 2019 (Monday)
Just when you thought you watched the new re-telling of 'Aladdin' on the big screen released earlier in May this year, 'Aladdin' the musical comes to Singapore shores. Both the new film and this musical offers new but very different aspects to the original animation that fans and those looking for an fun night out will not be disappointed.

'Aladdin' should really be called 'Genie!' instead. This broadway musical “is” about a poor street thief who gets to live 'happily ever after' in this Arabian Nights retelling, but make no mistake here - it's the Genie who's the star in this show. The magical being's role is sung to great aplomb by Gareth Jacobs. The Australian pulls out all the stops delivering the lines and the laughs, together with very strong lead voices from Graeme Isaako (Aladdin), Shubshri Kandiah (Jasmine), Patrick Brown (Jafar), Doron Chester (Iago his lackey and not a bird). 

This genie is one that doesn't let anything get in his way too, but bows out effectively when intimate scenes call for his absence. When the time comes for him to shine, oh boy does he shine brighter than the Cave of Wonders can ever blind you. The couple shows some decent sparks of chemistry between the two of them without appearing to be trying too hard. They are sweet, a little naive and hapless and very easy on the eye for sure. The villains steal the scenes when they come on stage, cackling and heckling for snorts to great bemusement but ultimately they are written as foil and comic relief and will come across as somewhat two dimensional. Together the supporting cast and the rest of the ensemble rounding up the performers are competent and appropriately funny without distaste. It helps that they are vocally and technically flawless, with some of them even physically flawless, making this cast really hard to top.

As one of the most elaborate of all Disney 'Live' musical productions with a total of 500 sets and props, few other musicals come close in terms of lavishness and splashes of colour. The Cave of Wonders is indeed “shiny, shimmering, splendid”. How much gold? Apparently 120 pieces to get you magically transported to the subterranean scenes. One has to be realistic however in that there are technical limitations to the magic-making illusions calling for flying carpets, towering collapse of the cave, transformation of the villain and so on. The magic carpet ride was predictably a highlight and hits the mark as the lovers swish through the night and over the moon as their witness. It would have been truly even more magical had they been able to summon even more surprises such as having Omar turn into a snake, but it's no big disappointment there.

Some songs not found in the animated title include "Proud of your Boy" written also by originator Howard Ashman. Others like "These Palace Walls" written by veteran playwright Chad Beguelin add greater dimension to the story. However as they do not enjoy the same degree of endearment due to lack of familiarity as favourites like "Friends Like Me", "A Whole New World" and "Prince Ali".

The middle segment of the show comes across slightly slower with the end seemingly chasing the plot as the clock ticks through the night. In this respect, the production's pace feels a little uneven. At times it's exhilaratingly chugging along, while at others, they slow down to a crawl.

All in all, this is one of the musicals both kids and older folks can enjoy as long you don't try to overly analyse it. Hey it's magic-making and that's what the Disney brand stands for. You get colours, you get fun, you get magic and everything under the sun (well, almost). So now we invite you to relax, let us pull up a chair as the dining room proudly present.. wait no, but you get the point. Time to be their guest.

Aladdin the Broadway Musical opens in Singapore now till 1 Sep 2019. Tickets are available at www.marinabaysands.com/ticketing or www.sistic.com.sg from $68.
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