Broadway Across Canada’s Aladdin is a colourful spectacle

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Broadway Across Canada’s presentation of Aladdin needs to decide what kind of production it is. Based on the animated film version produced by Disney. The music is by Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, and Chadbuelin and the book is also by Chad Beguelin. The musical features songs written for the film but didn’t make the cut, adding four brand new songs.

The musical is pretty true to the Disney film but the production removes animal companions Abu and Rajah and has Aladdin and Jasmine have human friends instead. Iago isn’t a parrot in this production and is a human companion to Jafar. It works for the production and builds on the complexity of the character of Aladdin, as he’s not socially isolated and not an outcast, but his charm is not as pronounced. Jasmine’s friends are more attendants than friends. They just seem to be there for show. They don’t engage in her conflict or turmoil. Iago is the typical comic relief, villainous sidekick.

Overall, the production hasn’t decided what it is. Because it’s based on Disney’s film version, this production is primarily for children, with side commentary for adults. But the balance seems a bit off. Iago, in particular, is funny for children but doesn’t do it for adults. His humour comes off as irritating. The production keeps it light throughout, missing any opportunities to bring up the themes that could do with heavier examination.

The true star of the show, in both the film and the stage production is the Genie. Marcus M. Martin’s Genie is high energy and has a great voice. He deserves the applause he gets every time he is on stage. I did find myself wishing Martin had some circus training to add to the spectacle of the performance, especially in his ‘Friend like me’ musical number. Adi Roy as Aladdin is charming and has a steady voice and Senzel Ahmady as Jasmine is fiery and fierce. Bringing the humour and the evil are Anad Nagraj as Jafar and Aaron Choi as Iago. They are both entertaining and Nagraj’s evil laugh is worth its weight in gold. Of note bringing levity to the production are Aladdin’s friends Babkak (Jake Letts), Omar (Ben Chavez), and Kassim (Colt Prattes)

There are two scenes where the production outdoes itself. The cave scene, where Alladin goes to find the magic lamp and the magic carpet scene. Bob Crowley’s scenic design along with Daniel Brodie’s projection design truly make these scenes magical. Everything seems to sparkle in the cave, without the stage being cluttered with props. The simple power of ‘A whole new world’ and the backdrop of the night makes that scene quite powerful.

Gregg Barnes’ costume design stands out. All of the characters are costumed in vibrant colours and royalty has an additional sparkle to all their garments. It’s really easy to love the costumes in this production.

Broadway Across Canada’s Aladdin is a fun, colourful production, but hasn’t quite found its rhythm in appealing to both adults and children.

More information and tickets are available online.

Photo Credit: Deen van Meer

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