Boys’ Colourful and Accomplished Aladdin Production
Monday, 09 July 2018
After months of preparation, Junior Boys at Bolton School have delivered a stunning three night-run of Aladdin. The audience was transported to Agrabah and the large-scale production, showcasing demanding roles and fantastic singing, opened with the townsfolk creating an impressive and vivid scene outside the Palace gates. The audience was immediately drawn into the story by the skilful and humorous narrators as they introduced the colourful characters to the audience.
A fantastic, pouting Princess Jasmine, prepared, against her wishes, to choose a husband, as she was given the option of three visiting princes: cue energetic and athletic displays of prowess from Prince Baba of Ganoush, fantastic swordsmanship and swashbuckling from Prince Dahdu ahn-Rahn and enthusiastic courtship from “(the) Prince formerly known as the Artist”. Even with this impressive display of masculinity, the Princess was unmoved.
Princess Jasmine was accompanied by a very formidable Sultan, commanding the stage as if it were his palace. No-one else could carry off his disco ball costume with such panache; his gold turban may even be seen at the Ascot Royal Enclosure next year! Jafar, Iago, Razoul and the guards were ever present in the play, weaving in and out of the story line, policing the populace like aspiring school monitors marshalling the dinner queue. The narrators kept the play running smoothly with their singing commentary and dazzling showgirl leg kick dancing, no doubt a skill which has been honed during PE with Mr Duxbury!
A street urchin, Aladdin, suddenly found himself with stolen bread and having to flee the guards. The part was well acted, with a mixture of boyish innocence, keen to speak to a girl, and the charm of a streetwise rascal. Princess Jasmine used the ensuing commotion to escape into the busy marketplace where she bumped into Aladdin. The two shared a connection, but their escape was cut short when the head of the Royal guard, Razoul, cornered them and Aladdin was taken away despite Jasmine’s pleas.
Jafar was an excellent pantomime villain; he had stage presence and had perfected the requisite villainous laugh. He was always accompanied by his colourful sidekick, the well-spoken parrot named Iago. He always gave good advice, but he was usually ignored and not given any respect by Jafar. Iago was an excellent cheeky contrast to the darkness of Jafar, who secretly rewrote the law, so that the Princess must marry him if she failed to choose a husband.
Jafar’s Cave was brought to life by the creative scenery and lighting by Mr Kyle and Mr Deakin. In the cave, Aladdin finds a lamp. Giving the lamp a clean, Aladdin releases a Genie with a striking accompanying smoke effect. The genie captured the hearts of the audience and brought great comedy and sparkling personality to the part and his confidence shone on the stage. The genie was tricked into helping Aladdin escape the cave on a magic carpet.
Aladdin was then granted the first of his three wishes, which was to become a prince to try and impress Princess Jasmine. Prince Ali then arrived amidst a dazzling display of townspeople shaking glittery pompoms and dancers who took to the stage with a rare display of enthusiastic dancing. The female dancers (played by boys of course!) added humour, a sense of fun and glamour to the event. There should also be a special mention to the falsetto singing. As the Prince displayed his naivety with girls, he only succeeded in impressing the Sultan.
Razoul proved the perfect henchman, playing a humorous part in Jafar’s chain of command. After discovering Aladdin’s escape from the cave, Jafar and Iago suspect the new Prince to be a fake and possibly in possession of a genie.
Prince Ali gained Jasmine’s trust and invited her to escape from the Palace with him on his magic carpet. Under spotlights, Jasmine and Aladdin, with backing vocals supplied by the narrators, sang the famous “A Whole New World.” It was a calming moment in the midst of a fast-paced story.
It was on their return to the Palace that Jasmine and Aladdin agreed to marry and bid farewell until morning. Aladdin then used his second wish after the guards, demonstrating their physical power, captured him again. Aladdin’s enthusiasm to thank the Genie caused him to leave behind the lamp which is found by Iago.
The grand finale was the wedding of Princess Jasmine and Aladdin. Aladdin confessed his true identity, Jafar was tricked into trapping himself forever as a genie and, as in all good fairy tales, everyone lived freely and happily ever after.
Park Road has a reputation for putting on a fantastic Year 6 production and it is fair to say that this year was no exception. It was a showstopper finale for Mrs Lockett’s final play after more than two decades of productions. All musical and acting talents were showcased superbly, and it was clear to see that everyone involved, including the audience, thoroughly enjoyed the production.
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