Review: Make it your wish to see brilliant Aladdin at Milton Keynes Theatre

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You only need one wish when it comes to Aladdin’s arrival at Milton Keynes Theatre – and that’s to make sure you get tickets to see this fantastic musical.

It’s here for over three weeks, so there’s no reason to miss out one of the best family shows I’ve seen in a very long time.

A big hit on Broadway and the West End, Aladdin has hopped on his magic carpet for the first-ever UK and Ireland tour. It was billed in publicity material as “a thrilling production filled with unforgettable magic, comedy and breathtaking spectacle!”… and it certainly lived up to its billing on Thursday evening.

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There’s brilliant music, dancing and singing from the outset, with the opener, Arabian Nights, introducing us to the fabulous Yeukayi Ushe who plays our friendly Genie.

Aladdin is at Milton Keynes TheatreAladdin is at Milton Keynes Theatre
Aladdin is at Milton Keynes Theatre

We then meet Aladdin (Gavin Adams) and his friends who tell us they only steal what they can’t afford – which is most things!

This is a show that will certainly bring a smile to your face with its sprinkling of comedy – “No-one does that to our friend,” say Aladdin’s friends boldly to the guards… “Unless they have a big sword!”

There are plenty of great scenes, such as Aladdin running through the market to elude the guards. But, if you think that’s good, just wait until Aladdin is tempted by the evil Jafar to retrieve the magic lamp from the Cave of Wonders – you’ll simply be blown away by the visual feast of a set that’s been created for this essential part of the story.

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Told by Jafar to touch nothing else but the lamp, Aladdin doesn’t pay attention and becomes trapped in the cave.

Aladdin is at Milton Keynes TheatreAladdin is at Milton Keynes Theatre
Aladdin is at Milton Keynes Theatre

All looks lost but he finds the lamp, he rubs it… you know the rest.

The Genie’s appearance is handled fantastically well. At this point what was already an impressive production took off to a whole new level as the Genie explains the rules of the lamp and the fact Aladdin has three wishes. Every second of the extended song Friend Like Me was to be savoured and Strictly Cave Dancing followed and got 10 out 10. There was massive audience applause at the end of the cave sequences – it was almost a shame they escaped and it had to end!

This is show packed full of likeable characters. Desmonda Cathabel was a perfect Princess Jasmine opposite Aladdin and a Million Miles Away was a great duet for the pair to perform.

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A Whole New World was also memorable as they go on their magic carpet ride in the starry night sky.

Our hero’s trio of loyal friends, Kassim (Nay-Nay), Omar (Adam Taylor), and Babkak (Nelson Bettencourt) do an entertaining job of storming the palace in an attempt to rescue Aladdin. It doesn’t quite go to plan, but we enjoy their fights with the guards and, in particular, a hilarious scene of slow motion running when it dawns on them “we’re not getting anywhere”.

A special mention must go to panto-style villains, Jafar (Adam Strong) and his sidekick Iago (Angelo Paragoso), who serve up evil acts and farcical mishaps in equal measure in their quest to grab the lamp so Jafar can have his wish of taking over as the Sultan.

After this glowing review it doesn't take a genie-us to know this is a show you shouldn’t miss.

Aladdin is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Sunday, May 19. Book your tickets at ATGTICKETS.COM/MiltonKeynes.

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