Edinburgh theatre: Disney’s Aladdin at The Edinburgh Playhouse: Review

Disney Theatrical Productions present Aladdin, on at the Playhouse until November 18. Photo by Deen Van Meer.
Disney Theatrical Productions present Aladdin, on at the Playhouse until November 18. Photo by Deen Van Meer.

It’s time to take a magic carpet ride to the far away streets of Agrabah and have your wishes come true as Disney’s Aladdin comes to town.

After more than 10 years of wowing audiences in Broadway and the West End, the wildly successful musical is on at the Edinburgh Playhouse as part of its first ever UK tour. This production is simply phenomenal and oozes all the opulence and adventure of the hit 90s movie.

The musical score features all the timeless classics from the original animated Disney movie, including Arabian Nights, Prince Ali, A Whole New World and One Jump Ahead as well as new numbers which have been seamlessly woven in – even die-hard Disney fans will approve. Aladdin, played by Gavin Adams, perfectly captures the mischievous charm and adventurous spirit of our hero, while Desomonda Cathabel, who some of you may recognise from ITV’s Mamma Mia! I Have a Dream, is wonderful as our free-spirited Princess Jasmine. Sorcerer Jafar, played by Adam Strong, alongside his loud-mouth sidekick Iago, Angelo Paragoso, also play their villainous roles with good humour.

But it’s Yeukayi Ushe who really steals the show as everyone’s blue-skinned best friend, the Genie. There would simply be no show without the phenomenal cosmic powers of the Genie and Ushe certainly lives up to his reputation. Playing the Genie would be a challenge for anyone considering the role was originally played by the much-loved Robin WIlliams, but Ushe delivers a highly memorable performance incorporating all the fun from Williams alongside his own charm and wit.

‘Friend Like Me’, performed by Ushe, is without doubt the big stage number of the night and it’s as extravagant as you might expect. It’s unusual to have a performance midway through a show create such an impact on the audience but Friend Like Me has the audience on a magical carpet ride of adrenaline, resulting in an applause lasting for what felt like 10 minutes long – with Ushe and the ensemble richly deserving every single moment.

The mesmerising charm of Disney goes a very long way, especially on stage, and the set design is also a visually stunning feast. From the Cave of Wonders to the streets of Agrabah, little and big kids will be in awe of this spectacular set design. Aladdin’s carpet ride with Jasmine is another breathtaking moment with song, set and performance literally reaching new heights.

Aladdin runs at the Playhouse until Saturday, November 18, with tickets still on sale.