Review Disney’s Aladdin – Wales Millennium Centre by Kate Richards

A Feast for the Senses!

 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

As soon as I saw that Aladdin was the big Christmas production at the Wales Millennium Centre this year I wanted to go, and after seeing the trailer I had really high expectations (which is often dangerous) but I am delighted to say that it surpassed my high expectations in every way!

From the second the curtain goes up; this epic production is a (wonderful) assault on your senses!  I was expecting colour, a few good special effects, an atmospheric set and some high-energy singing and dancing but WOW!  It’s genuinely hard to know where to start – it truly was Disney brought to life!

I can’t even imagine how many trucks it must take to transport all the set, props and costumes for this production, even the cast member with the smallest part must have at least 8 costume changes, each one, brighter, more colourful and sparkly than the last!  My 12-year-old self-re-emerged and was mesmerised by the set and the costumes, and I’ve no doubt that every little girl in the theatre was jealous of the perfect Princess Jasmine (the enchanting Desmonda Cathabel) resplendent, in turquoise and crystal!  Then, just as you thought she couldn’t get anymore ‘Disney princess-like’, she emerges in a pale pink wedding dress that shimmers with every movement. Every ‘girlie girl’s’ dream!

But don’t let that put you off boys – Aladdin is the perfect story for a family show because there really is something for everyone and this production capitalises on that brilliantly!  The high-energy and humour brought to their roles by Gavin Adams (Aladdin) and his band of buddies (Nelson Bettencourt, Adam Taylor and Nay-Nay) would definitely appeal to many of the young boys in the audience, not to mention the shiny silver sword fights, the soldiers and the ‘baddies’ – Jafar (played by Adam Strong) and his hilarious side-kick Iago (Angelo Paragoso).  Tap dance sections complete with top hats and canes take you back to the classic days of musical theatre and cabaret, and iconic songs from the original animated film are reproduced with feeling and precision.

So, what about our Genie?  Fans of the live action Disney film will know that Will Smith is a hard act to follow in this role but let me assure you that Yeukayi Ushe does a spectacular job! He definitely has the stage presence to pull off this role with his energy, nuanced comedy and just the right amount of ‘camp’! I don’t ‘have a friend like him’ – but I definitely want one!

For me, it was the set, the effects and the costumes that put this production above other musicals I’ve seen.  I’d heard people saying before the show, how good the flying carpet scene was – and it really was – not a wire or a safety harness in sight (and believe me we were looking), but I wasn’t prepared for the cave scene!  It was exactly as wonderous and glistening as a cave full of treasure would be in any child’s imagination, and that’s why this production doesn’t disappoint – it feels like it has been plucked straight out of a child’s imagination.  No expense has been spared in the costumes, the set and the props, so add that to the talented cast, the fabulous tunes and the special effects and you have a recipe for pure Christmas magic!  My guest told me that she ‘didn’t know where to look’ for much of the production as there was so much going on and so much to see and I have to agree; it’s one of the only musicals I’ve ever walked out of and though ‘I’d like to see that again’!

A wonderful start to my Christmas, a delight for the whole family, I can’t recommend this magical production highly enough.

Aladdin is playing at the Wales Millennium Centre until 14th January.  For more information and to book, please click here:

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