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Gavin Adams (Aladdin) in Disney Aladdin
Gavin Adams (Aladdin) in Disney Aladdin

Disney’s Aladdin UK and Ireland tour: Review

Home » Reviews » Disney’s Aladdin UK and Ireland tour: Review

A whole new world has arrived at Manchester’s Palace Theatre, as Disney’s Aladdin takes to the stage for a six-week run as part of its first ever UK tour.

The story and music will be familiar to many as it is based on the popular 1992 animated film, which was later adapted as a live-action screen version in 2019 starring Will Smith.

Yeukayi Ushe (Genie) in Disney Aladdin the Musical
Yeukayi Ushe (Genie) in Disney’s Aladdin the Musical

The stage version has been running on Broadway for 20 years and this current tour is the UK’s West End production. In addition to the classic songs from the film there are some new numbers, including the emotional ‘Proud of Your Boy’ with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin. As you would expect from an entertainment giant like Disney, no expense has been spared in taking this show on the road. It fills every inch of the Palace’s Theatre stage with sparkling energy from the opening dance number to the glittering finale.

Bob Crowley showcases why he is a seven-time Tony-winning scenic designer with vibrant sets which pop with colour, transporting us to the mythical land of Agrabah with its bustling marketplace, opulent palaces, star-filled skies and magical caves decorated with gold. And to add to the magic, illusion designers, Jim Steinmeyer and Rob Lake have created some spectacular effects, including a quick turning, flying carpet.

While all that glitters isn’t gold, this production certainly is, with a terrific orchestra led by Dave Rose and solid performances all round. And once the genie is out of the bottle there is no turning back – we are all hooked under Yeukayi Ushe’s energetic spell. His big number ‘Friend Like Me’ is raucously joyful and even includes a clever Disney medley from Beauty and the Beast to the Little Mermaid that has everyone cheering at hearing their favourite Disney hits.

Male ensemble Disney Aladdin the Musical
Male ensemble Disney Aladdin the Musical

Gavin Adams makes an impressive stage debut as Aladdin, our likeable hero whose adventure takes him from street busker to mini-Indiana Jones; from master of the lamp to romantic lead. Adam Strong and his evil laugh is a towering presence as the scheming Jafar who makes for some great pantomime-style tension with his side-kick, Iago (Angelo Paragoso). While Desmonda Cathabel makes a sparky Princess Jasmine, who gives little girls a heroine with independence and attitude they can root for.

The choreography is slick and absorbing, with some comedy swash-buckling alongside the big-scale numbers. It’s a breathtaking ride of pure, family fun, escapism that will leave you singing all the way home.

Disney’s Aladdin is at The Palace Theatre, Manchester from 22 May to 7 July 2024.

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Written by
Carmel Thomason
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Avatar photo Written by Carmel Thomason