Disney’s Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre is the latest retelling of the story of Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp, from the ancient tales of One Thousand and One Nights in the early eighteenth century. The story of a young man who gets three wishes from a genie trapped in an oil lamp has been told many times, in dozens of books, films and stage shows. Disney’s animated film of 1992 was full of action and adventure, whereas the expanded stage version returns it to its theatrical roots – back to being a celebration of the jazz of the 1930s and 1940s.

This Aladdin is full of magic and special effects – from the appearances of Trevor Dion Nicholas’ Genie, to the iconic magic carpet sequence which is wonderful to watch and a real wow factor. Bob Crowley’s large-scale sets are full of glitz and glamour – the cave is full of awe and wonder. Likewise, the costumes are magnificent – Aladdin's entry into the palace at the beginning of the second half is splendidly done, full of colour and excitement.

Dean John-Wilson is a handsome and cheeky Aladdin – but for all the wide-scale wonder, Aladdin is at its best in the more intimate moments when the title character reflects on his situation by singing to his late mother, 'Proud of your boy’ – one of the best songs of a score written by Alan Menken, Tim Rice and the late Howard Ashman.

This stage version uses songs from the iconic film plus new songs. The Genie’s song 'Friend Like Me' has been expanded from the film to an 8 minute number featuring magic, pyrotechnics and a tap dance routine, references to Bruce Forsyth's Generation Game and Strictly Come Dancing, plus a fun medley of other Disney songs. American import Trevor Dion Nicholas has real Broadway pizzazz – he lights up every scene literally with great presence – it’s a 'mega-watt' performance in every sense. But in a story full of romance as well as adventure, Jade Ewen’s Princess Jasmine needs a confidante – her male counterpart has three. 

Director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw’s production is full of broad strokes – there is no subtlety and not enough is at stake. The story is told very clearly but there really isn’t much to it. Much of the story is directed at the audience panto-style and it’s safely aimed at children with anything too dark being quickly moved along. But it’s witty, tuneful and magical too, despite an unnecessary reprise of the magic carpet sequence at the end spoiling some of that special effect. Do we really need another retelling of the Aladdin story? Probably not. Yet it's full of glitz and glamour and the kids will love it.