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Saturday, October 8, 2022


A magical multi-media showcase of local talent. (Review by Thomie Holtzhausen)

Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp, currently running at The Globe at Suncoast Casino features a strong cast of Vash Singh, Yasmin Hankel, Belinda Henwood, Rowan Bartlett, Darren King, Tshediso Kabulu, Sanele Sibiya, Michael Gritten and others - including a super-talented dance troupe.

Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp was first published in 1704 and has been adapted many times since. The story has inspired and entertained generations and the new production house Astrid Productions has chosen it as their debut production in Durban after which it will be staged in both Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The Aladdin creative team comprises director Glenn Hayden, assisted by local theatre guru Darren King, playwright Lakhinandan Boruah, composer Pranashan Singh as well as choreographers Bertwin D’Souza and Shampa GopiKrishna.

The Globe at Suncoast is not exactly the ideal venue for a show of this nature but has nonetheless been successfully converted into a theatre space. That being said, my old bones do not handle uncomfortable seating well, but the show had me spell-bound throughout and I soon forgot to slide off my seat.

(Right: Rowan Bartlett, Vash Singh & Belinda Henwood)

A strong opening scene by antagonist Abanaza, powerfully portrayed by Rowan Bartlett with a sleek touch of humour, could have been complimented with an ensemble dance sequence as opening number to set the tone for what is to come. The extremely talented dancers superbly choreographed by Bertwin D’Souza and Shampa GopiKrishna only made their first appearance 25 minutes into the show. Give me more!

The story unfolds with a stellar cast; some of Durban’s finest and also introducing loads of new talent. Sanele Sibiya impressed as Malik and Kiana Henry made her presence known and gave a magnificent portrayal of Nuri. I hope we will see more of them in future productions.

(Left: Michael Gritten & Yasmin Hankel)

It is the stalwarts, however, that set the tone and ensured that the production ranks at the top. Michael Gritten as the Sultan was on point and Darren King as the Grand Vizier was a joy to watch. 

Belinda Henwood as Fatima held the audience in the palms of her hands and was simply magnificent. I want to go back to see this proficient actress again and again. 

The Genie was a joy to watch and I bow to Tshediso Kabulu for his superb portrayal (maybe a few technical gimmicks could have added to his magic?)

Vash Singh was effective in the title role although he lacked energy at times. I believe he has taken ill and is forgiven. Yet, as the show progressed the stage doctor had him sorted and he shined. Yasmin Hankel is a very strong performer but lacked the youthfulness required by Aladdin’s love-interest. I was amazed to learn that the two are married off-stage as the passionate spark between them was absent.

Composer Pranashan Singh’s effective music was a huge luxury yet could have been extended to underscore more scenes, especially due to the nature of the production.

The evening show that I attended had a minor technical hiccup but nothing could detract from the audience’s enjoyment of the production. Oh, the joy of live theatre! The audience was indeed spellbound and that is what matters.

Last, but certainly not least, mention must be made of the absolutely stunning costumes. They were created by Jerry D’Souza, Bipin Tanna and Niraj Ruparel and, my golly – they are simply breathtaking. 

Kudus to the producers for choosing Durban and Durban performers. After the terrible dry spell in the performing arts during the pandemic, we can only be grateful for the work created, the magnitude of this brave production and the enjoyment brought to young and old.

Durban, if you have missed this one (we always wait till it is too late), follow Aladdin on its journey to Cape Town and Johannesburg and be part of this wonderful experience.

Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp is produced by Astrid Productions and runs at The Globe at Suncoast until October 9, 2022. Tickets available at Ticketpro. – Thomie Holtzhausen