I was definitely transported to a whole new world a couple of weeks ago when one of my best buddies George took me to see the West End’s brand new musical, Aladdin – and shining, shimmering and splendid are three words that pretty much sum it up.
I got the tickets way back in December as a Christmas present – when Aladdin was still on Broadway and I didn’t even know that it had been made in to a musical. It was a lovely surprise because if I had known the producers of my all time favourite show, The Lion King, were bringing another Disney classic to the stage – I would have been first in the queue to see it.
I absolutely loved the film when I was younger – what little girl doesn’t want to be Princess Jasmine, being swept off on a magic carpet by their very own Aladdin? And, just as it is intriguing to see how these Disney films are transformed for the big screen so many years after their initial release, it is also incredible to see them actually brought to life.
After 6 months of building excitement and a week listing to the soundtrack on repeat, the day arrived! We headed to London early for lunch at Borough Market and a wander around the Tate Modern, taking in the London skyline from the viewing platform. Before heading towards the Prince Edward Theatre – which was slightly easier said than done due to it being in the centre of Soho and Pride taking place that day.
Before taking our seats we were lucky enough to get a sneak peek backstage thanks to George’s lovely sister-in-law Laura, who runs the wardrobe department. She showed us where the actors get ready, all their costumes and the room where adjustments take place as and when needed. We even got to meet the mystical Genie aka Trevor Dion Nicholas (before he went on stage to grant Aladdin his three wishes) who was fabulous and very, very funny – definitely my favourite character.
Laura told us the costumes, which we would later see sparkling across the stage, were made up completely of Swarovski crystals.
She also told us that, although we wouldn’t know it, one scene has more than 80 costume changes in under 3 minutes! Obviously backstage is going to be manic during the show, with so many exquisite costumes to get in and out of – but it just isn’t something that crosses you mind when watching from the audience, where it all runs together so seamlessly
The theatre adaptation has stuck very closely to the 1992 animated film version of this magical fairytale and features several of the original songs including “Prince Ali”, “Friend Like Me” and “A Whole New World”
The magic carpet was Genie-us! I still have absolutely no idea how they made it fly, my original guess was that it was on wires, but if it was you couldn’t see them – even when it flew past the moon…
I don’t want to give too much away, but one of my favourite parts is when the Genie does a mash-up of various Disney songs. However, there was one thing missing for me, and that was the animals – Aladdin’s trusty monkey sidekick Abu and Jasmine’s tiger, Rajah.
Nevertheless it really was a spectacular show, in fact it was more than I could have ever wished for – full of sparkle, nostalgic songs and laughter. But, don’t just take my word for it, go and see it for yourself!
If you need a plus one, I would happily go and see it again…..