Review: ALADDIN at The National Theatre

The production runs through April 30th

By: Apr. 21, 2023
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Review: ALADDIN at The National Theatre
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Aladdin
Marcus M. Martin and company in Aladdin. Photo courtesy of the production.

For the remainder of April, The National Theatre is hosting the national tour of the beloved Disney musical Aladdin. The tale we all fell in love with from the 90s has been refreshed in a fun and magical way that people of all ages can continue to enjoy. With original music written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman with new additions written by Tim Rice, we are transported to Agrabah to follow the story of Aladdin and Jasmine with the Genie, Aladdin's new friends Kassim, Babkak, and Omar, and the infamous villain, Jafar, with his sidekick, Iago.

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Adi Roy in Aladdin. Photo courtesy of the production.

As someone who religiously watched the animated film all throughout my childhood, I was very excited to see this show. But I also wondered how the production could produce such a story including a genie from a lamp, a flying carpet, and amazing visuals? Have no fear - with fantastic singing, acting, choreography, costume and scenic design, and a bit of "Broadway magic," this show is one that upholds the standard of its original medium. Each element of this production integrates together so well that you're left amazed and enchanted throughout the entire performance.

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Marcus M. Martin in Aladdin. Photo courtesy of the production.

From the very beginning, we're welcomed by the talented Marcus M. Martin (Genie) to Agrabah by performing the well-known "Arabian Nights," alongside the talented ensemble with high energy and the Disney spirit flowing through the theater. Martin is certainly the person who pulls the whole production together. Each time he was on stage, the crowd was cheering and filled with excitement as he dazzled us all with his powerful voice, engaging and hilarious ad libs, and overall wonderful energy. The Genie is a character that is one of the most memorable in this story and in Disney in general, so there are big shoes to fill each time the wish-granter makes an appearance. Martin executes this role flawlessly and brings such joy to the theater as he does it. He has certainly proved why he was given this iconic role.

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Adi Roy in Aladdin. Photo courtesy of the production.

Then there is the namesake of the story, played by Adi Roy. The charming and clever "street rat" who ends up in an unusual situation involving a princess, a genie, and being known as "the diamond in the rough." Roy immediately captivated the audience with his talent and Disney prince-like charm that made everyone love the character in the movie. With an added element to Aladdin's backstory, wishing he could make his mother proud, included in the new song "Proud of Your Boy," Roy brings a sense of vulnerability into the role that makes us understand him even more. He absolutely shines in this role portraying the struggles that Aladdin faces, while he continues to seek out the impossible. Each interaction Roy has with the other characters is clearly intentional and is so wonderfully thought out - his nervousness around Jasmine, his friendship/lamp holder dynamic with Genie - it shows that he dove into all the characteristics that make Aladdin such a popular character. It was an absolute pleasure to get to see Adi Roy approach the titular role, and I know there are many more in store for him in the future.

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Senzel Ahmady and company in Aladdin. Photo courtesy of production.

Roy's co-star, Senzel Ahmady, perfectly complements his Aladdin as the independent and lovely Princess Jasmine. Both being young actors, it's apparent that Roy and Ahmady are taking on this journey together in a supportive and professional way. They balance each other out and show that there is a deep care for one another and the story, especially being in such important roles that children look up to. With that, Senzel Ahmady is truly a force to be reckoned with. She possesses the poise, caring nature, and intelligence of Jasmine and encapsulates it all with a wonderful voice and brilliant acting. Her Jasmine is a role model for people of all ages and backgrounds that I hope many will go to see.

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L-R Jake Letts, Ben Chavez, Adi Roy, and Colt Prattes in Aladdin. Photo courtesy of the production.

This entire cast is incredibly talented and mesmerizes the audience with their ecstatic intensity. It's apparent that everyone enjoys sharing this story and continues to share the excitement that the production possesses. One of the new additions to the musical version of Aladdin is Aladdin's "street rat" friends played by Colt Prattes (Kassim), Ben Chavez (Omar), and understudy, Cameron Sirian (Babkak). Since it would be difficult to include everyone's favorite monkey, Abu, in the live production, Aladdin and his posse cause mischief in the marketplace by stealing loaves of bread and distracting the market people through song and dance. These three actors were incredibly fun to watch and certainly added a new element to the story that was very entertaining and enjoyable.

The final element that brings this story to life is the scenic and costume design. The aspects of Agrabah that we know of are colorful and dazzling, so the set needed to match that personality, and it certainly did. The use of projections and many moving set pieces helped transport the audience into the story, adding the sense of Disney or Broadway magic that makes this production complete. This, along with the immaculate costume design was very eye-catching and beautiful to watch. I was constantly in awe of the detail that went into each person's costume, providing the opportunity to have each character created in their own unique way. Each actor's individuality showed through, creating an overall joyous and cheerful atmosphere that translated throughout the entire performance.

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Marcus M. Martin, Adi Roy, and company in Aladdin. Photo courtesy of the production.

I certainly enjoyed the national tour of Aladdin and hope that you get the opportunity to see it as well. Whether you can catch the show in DC, or in another city the show is traveling to, it is absolutely a worthwhile experience that I look forward to it for all who are able to enjoy.

Running time: 2 hours and 30 minutes including one intermission.

Aladdin runs through April 30th, 2023 at The National Theatre, located at 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004.

For more information on the Aladdin national tour, click here.




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