THERE is literally magic in the air halfway through Aladdin when a flying carpet soars across the stage.
When the curtain fell I thought the star of the show must be set designer Bob Crowley, but Jim Steinmyer, who devises the illusions, was also a strong candidate.
The audience gasped when Aladdin entered a cave in search of the lamp, marvelling at a cavernous grotto of glittering stalagmites and pyramids of gold and jewels.
And there were cheers when the magic carpet climbed into the night sky with Aladdin and princess Jasmine onboard.
Stare all you like, but you won’t see what’s holding the carpet up and I swear it really was magical.
The cave was the setting for another type of magic when the Perth audience got out of their seats and applauded the song Friend Like Me halfway through the show.
It was pure 1930s Hollywood: a singing, dancing extravaganza with plenty of bling, dazzle and razzmatazz.
The number had all the energy of a genie released from a cramped lamp after several hundred years.
WAAPA graduate Ainsley Melham is superb as Aladdin, bringing to the role a perfect mix of cheeky street urchin and young love, but Gareth Jacob’s genie almost steals the show with his smooth vocals and high camp.
Looking drop-dead gorgeous in harem pants, Princess Jasmine (Perth-born Shubshri Kandiah) is the classic Disney princess – beautiful with gorgeous vocals and enough feistiness to keep Germaine Greer happy.
Adam Murphy plays the comic book villain, Jafar, and his side-kick Iago (Aljin Abella) is malicious and very funny.
A sword fight between palace guards and Aladdin’s mates Kassim (Adam-Jon Fiorention), Babkak (Troy Sussman) and Omar (Robert Tripolino) is a frenetic routine that leaves you wondering how they could possibly dance, wield a sword and sing at the same time.
Gregg Barnes’ amazing costumes: a technicolour extravaganza of 337 Middle Eastern-inspired outfits, including a bevy of men dancing in trousers adorned with 1428 Swarovski crystals.
Aladdin, at the Crown Theatre in Burswood, is on until October.
by JENNY D’ANGER