The Magic of ‘Aladdin’

The Disney spectacular on everyone’s minds at the moment has to be the newly-released live-action ‘Aladdin’ starring Will Smith, but there’s only one ‘Aladdin’ you should be worrying about – the one that leaves its West End home at the Prince Edward theatre at the end of August 2019!

My birthday treat this year was tickets to the outstanding ‘Aladdin’, and here are five reasons to sweep up your tickets before the magic carpet flicks its tassels and flies on its way!

  1. The Genie. Straight from Broadway, he is the standout star of the show. He is the sassiest, funniest and most brilliant comic character I’ve ever seen on stage; you were begging for more Genie time, and his extended version of ‘Friend Like Me’ didn’t disappoint!
  2. Everyone else! There’s not a bad actor in the house, and my particular favourites were Jafar (who doesn’t love a bad guy?!) and Aladdin’s new friends that replace (although obviously not entirely) Abu – their song was particularly memorable, I dare you not to be humming along at the very least!
  3. The songs you love. I’ll admit, the backdrop and romance of ‘A Whole New World’ made me shed a tear – it was absolutely perfect. There are new ones and the classics, but all are perfectly tailored to the story and lift you up and mellow you out in true style.
  4. The glib references. Whether it’s cutouts of monkeys, the cheeky Disney songs twisted into ‘Friend Like Me’ or the parroting reminiscent of the actual parrot Iago compared to the human one, they know what the audience wants, and make you laugh when giving it to you.
  5. The magic and the wonder. It’s not just a cave that provides wonder, it’s the spectacle on stage – the scenery, the magic, the slapstick…It’s all just brilliant, and at times breathtaking, a real feat of stagecraft that needs to be seen to be believe.

 

So you’ve got til the end of August 2019 – get yourselves to Agrabah for a final Arabian night!

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Review: ‘Toy Story 3’

Just a quick warning – don’t read if you’ve not seen the film and want to!

After hearing the hype and avidly watching the first two installments of ‘Toy Story’, I was incredibly excited to see the third movie. Everyone warned me to take tissues, and I’ve not yet seen a negative word said about it, and I’m certainly not going to use any negative words in this review, although while I’m thinking about it, the only unnecessary part of watching the film was the 3D glasses: the film would have lost nothing by being watched in 2D, but I definitely see this as a positive, as ‘Toy Story’ isn’t about gimmicks, it’s about getting in touch with everyone’s inner child.

Eleven years after ‘Toy Story 2’, Andy is all grown up and off to college, leaving the toys wondering where they’re animated lives are heading next. The storyline sees them accidentally taken to day care, where a disenchanted bear refuses to let them leave: the relative simplicity of the storyline left room for both the hilarious and the touchingly bittersweet moments that really gripped your imagination and your heart, as well as making you feel thoroughly disgusted with yourself for ever throwing a toy out. My favourite line had to be “Quiet, musical hog!”, serving as both a reminder of how effortlessly funny ‘Toy Story’ is to all ages.

Tom Hanks, as ever, was fabulous in his role, and allowing Woody to be the hero and Buzz (Tim Allen) to go from obnoxious spaceman to charming Spaniard to our favourite space-hero saw the characters to do a full circle, linking the beginning of their union to the end of Andy’s childhood. I genuinely thought Woody would be off to college with his owner, but Andy’s touching farewell to everyone’s favourite cowboy showed just how wrong Lotso had been: you’re never abandoned, people just have to learn to move on.

I also appreciated how they bent stereotypes: Barbie and Ken in particular were examples of this, moving seamlessly between their blonde and camp surfaces respectively, to being both the intellectual and the prince charming/bodyguard figure, showing no one is as simple as they seem on the outside, a message previously seen in characters such as Jessie, (Joan Cusack) with her loud exterior and quiet fear of being alone.

The ending, as expected, had the tears running down my cheeks as I struggled to cope with the emotion of the incinerator and of Andy giving up his childhood friends. It resonated particularly with ┬áme when Andy’s mom saw his empty room, as both me and my mom had our teary moments when I left for the first time, and having seen the series of films triumphantly storm the cinemas, it felt like the end of an era. I’d always imagined the toys being forever Andy’s, but the realism of the third film reminded us that we all have to grow up, but that despite that change, our childhood’s still define us. The decision to wait to produce the third film in the franchise was one of the best Disney/Pixar have ever made, allowing them ensure the toys were back in town with a resounding impact. I know exactly which DVD will be at the top of my Christmas list, and I can only imagine that I’ll love those toys for infinity, and beyond.