Review: Aladdin at QPAC

Devon Cartwright

Despite the namesake, one could arguably think that the real star of the performance is Gareth Jacobs' Genie.
Review: Aladdin at QPAC

Image: Aladdin and Jasmin via Disney.

Once again Brisbane is given the opportunity to host another Disney production at QPAC, and again crowds are sure to be thrilled by the live adaptation of this childhood tale. Built upon the plot and characters of the classic 1992 Disney film, audiences can be prepared for a glitzy, over-the-top performance that will surely please any age group. Everything from the set, to costuming, and the music is excellently complimented by a talented cast of 34 Australian and international performers.


Despite the namesake, one could arguably think that the real star of the performance is Gareth Jacobs' Genie. Jacobs delivers a gloriously flamboyant and commanding presence in his role, that had the audience eating out of his hand – even garnering a standing ovation for Friend Like Me. The only downside to such a powerful Genie character, is that it almost makes some other characters borderline dull by comparison. Notably, Aladdin although a solid and charismatic performance by Ainsley Melham, there were points where it felt as though Aladdin was merely the side-kick to the Genie – a necessary plot device to keep the story going. That aside, the cast is truly remarkable in their dedication to music, and choreography which mesmerises and entertains the audience throughout the performance. 

The set is another highlight that should not be ignored, as it is an assortment of elaborate and ever-changing pieces that are constantly being flown in from the wings with precision. No time is ever wasted in this performance waiting for scene changes, and gives a beautiful spectacle in its own right. The most brilliant of the sets being the cave of wonders, which is simply beautiful to look at, and a prime example for scenic designers on why perspective is essential when creating a set. Bob Crowley manages to make the cave of wonders look ten-fold the size it is through his clever layering and overlapping of set pieces – complimented by pyrotechnics which is a spectacle in its own right.  Likewise, the costuming is elegant, colourful, and eye-popping with 337 costumes made from 1,225 different fabrics, decorated with 712 styles of beads, and a staggering 500,000 Swarovski crystals. The creative team has done a phenomenal effort to create a world that is familiar to our own real world, yet unique enough to place it in a realm of its own.

Altogether, Disney's Aladdin is definitely worth seeing, make a night of it, and take the whole family. Audiences will be treated to the familiar classic movie songs, as well as some exclusive to the musical production, a definite must-see for anyone who considers themselves a Disney fan.

Rating: 4 ½ stars out of 5


Music: Alan Menken
Lyrics: Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, Chad Beguelin
Director | Choreographer : Casey Nicholaw
Music Director : Geoffrey Castles
Scenic Design: Bob Crowley
Lighting Design: Natasha Katz
Costume Design: Gregg Barnes

Aladdin: Ainsley Melham
Genie: Gareth Jacobs
Jasmine: Hiba Elchikhe
Jafar: Adam Murphy
Iago: Aljin Abella
Sultan: George Henare
Kassim: Adam-Jon Fiorentino
Babkak: Troy Sussman
Omar: Robert Tripolino

Disney Theatrical Productions
24 FEB  – 3 JUNE 2018

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Devon is a free-lance Canadian director and Reviewer for ArtsHub. Graduated from St Clair College with an Advanced Diploma in Music Theatre Performance, and studied on exchange with the University of Windsor (Communications, Media, & Film) and Griffith University (Contemporary and Applied Theatre).