Aladdin and his Magic i-Pod
Jally Entertainment @ Holden Street Theatres – The Arch
11:00am, Fri 2 Mar 2012
I first encountered Jally through a quick 2009 show; I was sufficiently impressed that I figured I’d support the company where possible. So when I saw Aladdin in the program, I pencilled it in; after a cancelled show on Monday, I blagged my way into this sold-out performance, very tired and dishevelled from the previous evening.
Of course, in leveraging a late-morning matinée I essentially committed myself to watching the performance with school groups; and, given Aladdin‘s target audience, that meant I was sharing The Arch with 110 young school children, whose raucousness got a bit much for my aching head at times. But that’s fine: their enthusiasm undoubtedly heightened my enjoyment, too.
Which is just as well, really, because Aladdin and his Magic i-Pod was clearly aimed squarely at a much younger age group. The concessions to modernity, whilst still paying heed to the original tale, come early on in the production, as Aladdin trades his lamp(!) to Mr Dodgy (at the Bad Bad Guys store) for a magic carpet (complete with fleas).
Yep, there’s a fair bit of crossover.
After convincing Mr Dodgy’s sister that the “magic” carpet is broken, Aladdin manages to exchange the rug for a magic iPod; and lo, out of the iPod comes Jean Genie (whose every appearance triggers a played-for-disdainful-laughs dance by the cast to the chorus of Bowie’s classic). Of course, the Bowie reference is lost on the kids (and even some of the younger teachers present), but the constant callback to the joke works: they’re soon bouncing around with glee at repeat playings.
In fact, the kids really seemed to love the show – big, bold, and colourful, and full of fun sequences that got the kids yelling out in a pantomimic frenzy. Aladdin’s misheard wishes – a big shark, a giant moose who likes juice – had the younger audience almost beside themselves in glee… and that made this big kid smile. And hey, I enjoyed myself too – if only because of the curious looks I got from some of my younger neighbours when I joined in the yelling.
Like I said, this big kid had fun :)