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Aladdin (Chelmsford, Civic Theatre)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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The story of Aladdin is of course, an Arabian one in its origin. Simon Aylin who has written and directed this new show laces the story with Bollywood elements, which fit in very nicely as the story flows from country to country. Our hero is Chris Carswell who has an engaging personality touched with just enough naïvité to make his pursuit of the Princess and susceptibility to Abanazer’s machinations credible.

Michael Cantwell as the villain is suitably menacing with the supernatural forces of good opposing him in the slinky shape of Lauren Ingram as the Slave of the Ring, conveying the limits of her powers of intervention with great clarity. Harry Morrison is a chubbily petulant Genie of the Lamp, though one sympathises with the way his hopes of freedom have always been dashed by his masters’ selfishness. Princess Jasmine, the Sultan’s daughter, has a good singing voice, dances well and Natasha Jayetileke gives her a great personality.

Widow Twankey is Richard Earl, a no-nonsense type of Dame, revelling in the off-beat “Twelve days of Christmas” trio as well as the more conventional custard-pie routine, and holding the stage for the scenes with [Nathan Guy’s Wisheee Washee and Paul Beech’s Sultan. Ben Kennedy is the musical director and Heather Douglas’ choreography has her cast turning wrists and flexing ankles in true Indian dance fashion. No designer is specifically credited, but the magic carpet journey was extremely well done.


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