Disney’s Aladdin: A comedic yet breathtaking extravaganza

The Palace Theatre in Manchester welcomed the classic tale of Aladdin this week, and left the audience stunned with the amazing choreography and compelling storytelling.

The play was set in Agrabah, an Arabian setting full of colour and panache, and the audience was immediately welcomed by the Genie, who started with the first musical number of the night.

The set (Image credited to Lewis Jenkins Story House)

Then came in Aladdin, the poor yet lovable man who is known for stealing to make ends meet – but who wants to change to make his parents proud.

Meanwhile, Jasmine, the rich yet suppressed daughter of a Sultan, is being forced to marry someone she does not want to – instead she wants to be free from the burdens of upholding tradition and expectations from her father.

They bump into each other in the marketplace and Aladdin is immediately captivated by her beauty.

Aladdin and Jasmine meet for the first time. (Image credited to Lewis Jenkins Story House)

Jafar, who is the antagonist in the play, also desires Jasmine’s heart, and makes his intentions to marry her clear by learning of a magical lamp which is said to grant any wish.

However, the lamp is stuck in a cave, and only the “chosen one” can get it. The “chosen one” turns out to be Aladdin.

Jafar meets and coerces Aladdin to get the lamp, however when he gets the lamp, he gets stuck in the cave and meets the Genie.

Aladdin wishes to be a prince, so he can be desirable enough for Jasmine to marry, Jasmine immediately falls for Aladdin, who disguises himself as Prince Ali from a far-away land. He takes her on a magical flying carpet ride where they get romantically closer.

However Jafar finds out about this and captures the lamp, which means the genie has to obey him now. However, since he is so corrupted with vengeance, he wishes to become an all powerful Genie himself and this wish immediately sucks him into the lamp, leaving the original Genie free. In the end, Aladdin comes clean with his identity and marries Jasmine.

Overall, this play’s use of colour was amazing, the first musical scene alone captivated me as the set was bathed in a sea of bright orange, purple, blue and gold, this was very visually stimulating. The outfits the characters wore were full of flair and flamboyance, capturing the rich beauty and essence of the middle east.

The colourful array of costumes (Image credited to Lewis Jenkins Story House)

My personal favourite set design was the cave, as this was covered in shiny jewellery, making it look jaw-dropping and other-worldly.

Every musical scene was complete with emotion, excitement and stunning visuals. For example, Aladdin’s solo singing performance about how he wanted to make his parents proud while he looked to the sky was very moving. This provided a great contrast to the performance at the end of the play when it was extravagant and celebratory.

As an audience member, I felt Aladdin and Jasmine’s chemistry on stage and this made for a very emotionally compelling story.

However, I thought Yeukayi Ushe as the Genie absolutely stole the show. His brilliantly timed comedic delivery and subtle mentions of modern-day pop culture references like mentioning Wakanda were funny, making his acting performance the most dynamic display of the night.

Genie, played by Yeukayi Ushe (Image credited to Lewis Jenkins Story House)

The choreography was very creative and paired well with the singing. I liked how the characters included stunts with the dance moves, like how Aladdin was dodging and diving through buildings while he was running from guards.

I also enjoyed how Aladdin’s friends were sword fighting while also dancing and singing, this was very invigorating to witness, which further drew me into the scene, as if I was involved.

I was also pleasantly surprised about the special effects, like how the carpet was able to fly, as well as making Aladdin disappear in a box, only to make him re-appear again moments later.

Overall, this play provided me with the complete viewing experience, it has great and emotive storytelling, an eye-catching set and costume designs and acting performances worthy of major praise.

Feature image credited to Lewis Jenkins Story House

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