A Whole New World: What it’s like to experience the new ‘Aladdin’ musical live
It’s a show that fans of the original animated Aladdin film aren’t going to want to miss. Currently in season at Melbourne’s Her Majesty’s Theatre is the long awaited Aladdin musical which has already won audiences overseas and become a huge hit on Broadway.
Adapted from the beloved Disney animation of the same name, as well as the centuries-old Middle Eastern folktale, Aladdin breathes new theatrical life into this magical fable with its fantastic performances, gorgeously crafted set and costume design, and spectacular song and dance numbers.
The leading performances
Australian performer Ainsley Melham is brilliant as the fun and mischievous Aladdin. Melham excels in the leading role, putting his talents as a performer to great effect. You won’t be able to take your eyes off Aladdin as he dances across the stage and soars his voice across Her Majesty’s Theatre. In the female lead role, co-star Hiba Elchikhe is graceful as Princess Jasmine, the fearless royal who is never one to let the patriarchy get her down. Elchikhe too possesses an incredible voice, evident especially during the musical’s signature theme ‘A Whole New World’.
Opposite Aladdin and Princess Jasmine are Jafar, the villain of the musical (played by Adam Murphy who nails the trademark evil laughter) and Iago, Jafar’s sidekick parrot (played by Aljin Abella). Both are great in their relationship to one another and Iago copying everything Jafar says is also a highlight of the show.
And of course, there’s Genie. We might not get Robin Williams’ charming presence here but just as captivating on stage is American performer Michael James Scott. From the moment Scott enters the musical as Genie, his charismatic performance instantly wins over the hearts of audience members. As the powerful being trapped inside the lamp, Scott embodies the character so well you would think that he was born to play the role. Like the film, Genie frequently changes personas and Scott is able to perfectly impersonate Genie’s roles from jazz singer to comedian.
The musical is extravagant to say the least. From feathery turbans to sashes in just about every colour under the Arabian sky, the production spared no expenses when it came to putting on a truly dazzling show.
The show was so dazzling in fact that genuine Swarovski crystals were sewed into certain costumes and set pieces. A total of 5000 Swarovski crystals were used for the production; one pair of men’s pants in the Genie’s “Friend Like Me” finale featured 1,428 Swarovski crystals alone!
The scenery and set design also is magnificent. Drawing inspiration from Middle Eastern architecture, the musical’s take on the city of Agrabah is fabulous. Audiences are treated to some astounding flying scenery, a colourful marketplace, a majestic palace and most important of all, the opulence of the legendary Cave of Wonders.
The show’s extravagance can best be summed up in the Cave of Wonders with props of jewellery, gold, gems and splashes of sparkles and fireworks all demonstrating the magic of the production. It’s no wonder the theatre was filled with sparkles and beauty.
A true Broadway experience in Melbourne
If you’ve always wanted a true Broadway experience, look no further than the Aladdin musical. With the iconic music of Alan Menken and spectacular dancing and choreography to along with it, an evening out with Aladdin and his friends will indeed bring you to a whole new world.
So save yourself a plane ticket to New York because all the magic of Broadway and Disney can be found right here in Melbourne.
Aladdin is currently in-season at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne and will be running from now until October 22. For more information about the musical, please visit its official website.