A raucous ball of fun for the under-ten set, Aladdin and His Lamp is not serious
theatre. It's not theater which requires you to sit respectfully and listen. Aladdin and His Lamp is silly fun that
invites the audience to hiss at the bad guy and shout, "He's not your
uncle, he's the Evil Magician!" Genie wears white sneakers with his
sparkly green outfit and turban, Aladdin sings off-key and hula hoops (badly)
during one song and crew hands are clearly visible as props are passed onstage.
Heck, three of the five main characters
don't even really have names! (Aladdin's Mother, Evil Magician and Beautiful
Princess.) But somehow, the intended audience gobbles it up because it's made
all for them.
This show is all about the kids. Genie tries to get
into the lamp several ways, but the one aimed at the kids is when he tried to
do a flip into it. Children were invited up on the stage to help hide the lamp
in a cave (marked with a sign HIDE LAMP HERE) They came up to do
"magic" onstage and also came up to bring the main characters juice
in order to get vitamins to let them escape their prison. Of course, during
intermission, the audience gets to have juice and cookies too. If not a kid's
dreamland, it's at least a great kid's party.
And a note for parents-- "Camp" is the
perfect word for this show. Paul Denniston is a wonderfully hammy bad guy who
tries not to laugh as the kids yell so loud over his lines, they can hardly be
heard. He even employs Mike Meyer's
famous "Dr. Evil finger" at times through the play. Charlie Mount's Genie uses a bit of slapstick
and some puns like, "You really rub me the wrong way." Aladdin (Jason Galloway) wonders aloud,
"How are we going to get out of here? It's almost intermission!" Aladdin's
Mother (Bonnie Kalisher) decides to go across the street to Universal Studios
to ride "The Simpsons" and the Beautiful Princess (Emily Bridges)
just came back from her cruise. They call it a play, and that's what this is. Aladdin and His Lamp is an awesome
introduction to theater for young kids.
It seems perfect for school field trips, birthday parties and any other
large group of children.
Theatre West and Storybook Theatre perform Aladdin and His Lamp on Saturdays at
1:00 p.m. March 10-July 14, 2012. Call 818-761-2203 or go to
www.theatrewest.org for reservations.