A magical ride with Aladdin Jr

Our Years 7 and 8 performed Aladdin Jr for their Christmas play this year. Based on the original Disney film, the script and music has been adapted for the stage by Music Theatre International’s Broadway Junior team.

A few of the original characters were replaced from the original film cast. Instead of a monkey, Aladdin has three friends – Babkak, Omar & Kassim.  Jasmine also has three palace friends – Manal, Isir and Rajah – in replace of the tiger. While Iago remains Jafar’s pestilent side-kick, although we only see tiny remnants of his previous parrot state.

The music of Aladdin Jr is reminiscent of the 1930’s jazz styles of Cab Calloway and Fats Waller, so a Year 7 “Agraband” was created to perform a small Jazz ensemble/singing group.

The story takes you on a magical carpet ride to the invented city of Agrabah.  Inspiration for the city was taken from The Thief of Baghdad and One Thousand and One Nights. It’s a vibrant, exciting world where any form of pretence comes at a price.

In the market of Agrabah, Aladdin and his friends are seen scrounging for their next meal. Aladdin also meets Princess Jasmine, who is disguised as a commoner in an attempt to escape the confines of the palace.

Lurking in the shadows is the evil sorcerer – Jafar – who is posing as the Sultan’s trusted advisor. Jafar and his foolish sidekick Iago, are plotting to steal the kingdom from under the Sultan’s nose.

Unknowingly, Aladdin is caught up in the evil plot, and finds himself becoming the master of the genie in the magic lamp. Gaining “cosmic powers” as opposed to Jafar, will he wish for the right thing? And will he remember the wise words of his magical friend the Genie:

“Don’t be fooled by its commonplace appearance. Like so many things, it is not what is outside, but what is inside that counts.”            

Elstree’s Head of Drama Anna Oliver said:

“Our key message – ‘Don’t be someone that you’re not!’ – was shown by a number of characters being in disguise, and by breaking the “fourth wall” of theatre, portraying the Spooky Voice as an inexperienced actor who rehearses his lines at the back of the house. 

Using Genie as a modern day storyteller and magician in disguise, he befriends the audience, flitting between the present and his magical past.  He demonstrates feelings of sadness and hurt, values friendships and holidays in the sun.”