Just before Xmas, I decided it was time to catch up with Disney’s Aladdin. I enjoyed it slightly more than Kinky Boots and lots more than Wicked. In other words, I really didn’t enjoy it at all.
While it had great sets and costumes and an extraordinary illusion with the flying carpet (this follows the trend set by Phantom of The Opera and Miss Saigon where you must have a set piece of stage magic — the falling chandelier and the helicopter). But sets, costumes and illusions are not enough and the show must have a story and songs that hold attention.
These days it is very unlikely that we will have any performances that are not excellent and in this production all the leads do their jobs brilliantly, The Genie in particular being great fun. But I found the songs somewhat boring, and being already aware of the story from the film it takes a lot for a production to grab me; this one didn’t.
At the same time I suspect I am not the target audience for most of these shows, which is a great pity as I have been a fan of musicals since first seeing My Fair Lady at the old Her Majesty’s Theatre.
Now I need something of the calibre of Matilda or Hamilton (which I am yet to see) or the “best musical ever”, The Book of Mormon, which I saw when on my annual week of seeing tennis and cabaret and shows at the Midsumma Festival in Melbourne.
Gateau De Chocolat and Jimmy Woo are two International drag queens who gave us A Night at the Musicals where we experienced such magic as Jimmy doing Les Mis by himself and allowing us the fun of a singalong to the songs from Grease. It was fun for nearly 90 minutes and we loved it.
Glory Box: Lucky 13 is a different sort of cabaret, with the company delivering its 13th show of women challenging lots of issues, including size. Some of it was challenging while some was sheer silly fun. We were discussing it for days after, which shows how good it was.
As The Book of Mormon was playing previews and as I was able to get a very rare ticket, and as I love the show and wanted to see the Aussie production, off I went. As in London, the audience is made up mainly of people who don’t regularly go to the theatre, and the feeling in the foyer prior to the show is one of excited expectation. The excitement rises during the opening number and increases from then as the laughs come thick and fast through the show.
As I have said before, this is a show that is wonderfully sacrilegious and has great songs and lots of heart. It is the fastest-selling show ever and will run for a long time in Melbourne before heading to Sydney. The buzz in the foyer after the show was even louder than before and the Australian cast nailed it.