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Aladdin review at Civic Theatre, Chelmsford – ‘turbulence-free carpet ride’

Cast members from Aladdin at the Civic Theatre, Chelmsford Cast members from Aladdin at the Civic Theatre, Chelmsford

Having set the bar high in Neverland last year, the Civic Theatre’s eighth festive collaboration with One from the Heart Productions results in a magical, turbulence-free carpet ride.

Akin to a sugar-coated episode of Glee, an overdose of familiar pop awaits, including the inevitable Uptown Funk, with Liam Ross-Mills getting the party started as fun-loving Aladdin.

Damian Czarnecki’s mass dance routines are breathlessly high-octane, with an impressive Laine Theatre Arts sourced ensemble certainly earning their crust, typified by Millie O’Connell’s agile Slave of the Ring.

This frenetic pace on occasions can prove detrimental to vocal consistency. Yet when stripped back, the more intimate deliveries are hugely rewarding, most notably during a touching rendition of Olly Murs’ Wrapped Up, executed by Ross-Mills and Gabriela Gregorian as the sadly underused glimmering Princess Jasmine.

Talking of standout performances, beneath Shaun Chambers’ cloaked conniving Abanazar lies a vocal prowess put to full use in a rip-roaring Bat Out of Hell.

Larger-than-life Neal Wright conjures all the exuberance you expect from his endearing gyrating Genie, and fellow kids’ favourite Samuel Parker must reach for the Skittles in-between scenes, as he conveys Wishee Washee with a blend of boundless energy and comedic clumsiness.

Verdict
Simon Aylin’s reliable festive offering brings seasonal cheer with music as its beating heart
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