Title: Disney’s Aladdin – The Musical
Location: Auckland Civic Theatre
Reviewed by KITTY JAN
Growing up watching the Disney animation, Aladdin, I fell for the classic love story, the witty charm of Aladdin and the award-winning soundtrack. Needless to say; when Aladdin was brought to theatrical life at Auckland’s Civic Theatre as a bold new musical, I had high expectations and it sure did not disappoint.
Disney’s Aladdin – The Musical is everything I could have wished for – a night of glitz, glamour, and magic. It really is a whole new world!
The musical that first premiered at Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre, quickly established itself as one of the biggest hits in recent years, breaking records and welcoming over six million people worldwide. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, Aladdin features an award-winning production team, including music by Tony Award and eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken and is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw. The show that came to Auckland was a world-class performance indeed.
The production features a talented cast of 34, including New Zealand’s own Graeme Issako in the title role of Aladdin. Not only charming in looks, Issako brought the childhood character to life, with his staggering moves, witty one-liners, and an exceptional singing voice ensuring the perfect embodiment of the character.
Beautiful and strong-hearted, Jasmine is played by Shubshri Kandiah. A stunning performance with flair and attitude. She encapsulates the independent spirit and dogged determination of a young woman determined to marry for love rather than duty.
The show would not be complete without Genie. Gareth Jacobs in the role of Genie was a match made in the Arabian night sky – pure Genie-us! His Kiwi twist on the humorous aspects of his character will ensure you laugh all night long. His magic tricks will leave you in awe and wondering exactly how he did it for the rest of the night. It truly was a spectacular performance, with a standing ovation from the audience reflecting that.
With 337 costumes constructed from 1,225 different fabrics, 712 different styles of beads and over 500,000 Swarovski crystals, the wardrobe more than matched the outstanding performance of the actors. The attention to detail was astounding, all the way down to the 161 pairs of custom made shoes and 280 pairs of harem pants.
The stage was a magical sight that more than matched the opulence of its location at the Civic Theatre. My eyes were glued to the stage as I was taken on a journey to a whole new world. I sang along to the five cherished songs from the original Aladdin soundtrack and found myself captivated with the songs specifically crafted for this stage performance.
The night recreated the very best memories from my childhood and, with its own unique adaptations and magical cast, ensures Aladdin will be loved by kids (and big kids) alike for many years to come.
KITTY JAN is an aspiring writer on a mission to bring positivity and sunshine to the world, with the essentials of a large soy latte keeping her going. You can find her on Instagram (@kjanpants)