Aladdin A Whole New World
Today was going to be a long day; waking up at 6am for a day trip to London to see Disney’s Aladdin musical.
Using my work tactic for getting out of bed I’d left ironing my day’s t-shirt until this morning; forcing me to get out of bed. While ironing I made Donna a coffee to drink while we got showered and dressed for the day.
We were aiming to get the 7:14 train from our local station as this would give us a good transfer time to the London-bound train. Though if we didn’t make that train we could have got the next one and just had a shorter transfer time.
As luck had it we made it to the station at 7:05 allowing us to get on the planned train; shock and horror it was running early!
I adore the golden light that early day light gives! there is a reason it’s called the golden hour.
While the train left our local station early experience with this line says not to expect to get to the transfer station on time; or even arrive there early. But arrive to the transfer station early we did.
As we didn’t have breakfast before leaving the house this morning we picked up an Eat Natural bar each from the station shop. I had a Dark Chocolate with Cranberries and Macadamia one; with Donna choosing an Almond and Apricot with Yoghurt one. At £1.50 a bar there wasn’t as bigger mark up as normal for station food.
The second train of the day arrived on time as well; a feature of UK trains I am uncomfortable with having spent too long on delayed trains.
Journey to London
On board the train was not as quiet as I had expected from this time of day being 1/4 full when we boarded and left to standing room only following the stop and Nuneaton.
Normally when we go to London, we use Virgin West Coast but the costs were astronomical for today; leading us to London Northwestern trains.
The on board experience was pleasant with my only real complaint being how hard the seats are; they were a little uncomfortable for the time of the journey. That said, we arrived into London ahead of schedule so had to wait outside of Euston for the platform to come clear for us.
On arrival to Euston we had a nice surprise; the public restrooms are now free to enter. Admittedly, this shouldn’t be something we should class as a nice surprise; but for anyone who needs to visit them not having to find exact change makes things easier.
All refreshed following the trip down we made our way to the Euston tube station, where we boarded a Victoria Line train to take us to Oxford Circus so start our pre theatre shopping trip.
The first shopping stop for us on any trip to London is the Disney Store.
To be honest, though we rarely end up buying anything in here; getting large shopping home on the train is a pain, but it is always nice to visit.
On this visit they have taken possession of some new figures to advertise Toy Story 4; while the Buzz and Woody are nothing we haven’t seen before, there is a new a new Bo in her more athletic suitable outfit:
I love seeing these figures in store when they’re promoting new movies; they are a nostalgic thing for me as I remember them from childhood.
As well as promotional stands for Toy Story 4, the Disney Store had decorated the lower floor as the Cave of Wonders from Aladdin complete with the Genies Lamp
On the way out of the Disney Store I attempted to yet again get a good photo of the “wooden” Mickey and Minnie statue:
With the Disney Store finished we headed to a Selfridges as Donna wanted to try to get one of the MAC Aladdin lipsticks.
As luck would have it other than the Whole New World colour Selfridges had stocks of the other three colours.
I must say that MAC knocked the packaging out of the park with this range it looks amazing. Donna was unable to choose between Friend Like Me and Princess Incognito so ended up buying both.
Finishing this stop we realised that we were running slightly ahead of planned time; so rather than getting on the tube at Bond Street to Piccadilly Circus we walked.
An Unexpected Stop
Walking past Hamley’s we noticed that they had 20% off all Lego in store, this is dangerous. I am a big Lego fan and always have kits on my shopping list.
Hoping to find the Steam Boat Willie kit on offer we went in. Unfortunately Hamley’s didn’t have that kit in but did have a lot of the Series 2 Lego Disney Mini Figures in.
I had just started checking the packs; I was after Mickey, Minnie, Chip and Dale from this series; when we got approached by Mark who we later found out was the Lego manager for the store.
Initially thinking I’d be asked to stop checking the bags; I was surprised when instead he asked which figures I was looking for. Telling him the figures I was looking for he went and got a brand new box of the figures from the warehouse and sat down by the Duplo play stand and started checking the bags for me.
While he was checking the blind bags we were chatting about all things geeky and Lego. It turns out he was a big fan of Stranger Things and had a good chat with Donna about the show.
About 15 minutes and 30+ bags Mark had found the figures for me and we parted after some talking about Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios which he was attending this year.
Leaving Hamley’s it was time for lunch and both of us loving Japanese food we headed for the Japan Centre.
The Japan Centre is a to go shop anyway; on this trip we planned to pick up some Umeshu as getting it shipped is fairly expensive.
Lunch is also an easy choice, with both of us having a chicken katsu with pork gyoza:
For £13 this was an amazing value for money meal especially given the general London premium on all prices. Donna had also picked up some frozen mochi, a coconut one, mango one and lemon one. I had the lemon one as I still love citrus fruits.
The final stop before heading to the Prince Edward Theatre was the Lego Store in Leicester Square; I did get to see the Lunar Lander that Lego released this day to celebrate the 50th anniversary of man landing on the moon.
I decided against buying anything else on this trip, mainly for due to size and not wanting to carry them on the train home as both Steam Boat Willie and the Lunar Lander are over the free shipping on the Lego Store website.
With all the shops we wanted to visit done we took a slow walk to the Prince Edward Theatre.
Time for a Show
Arriving at the theatre we stopped to take some photos of the outside to remember how it got decorated for this show.
Surprisingly, the outside of the theatre does not contain the heavy decoration I thought it may; all to the credit of the theatre as it keeps its West End feel. There was one bit of decoration missing which I was hopping to see though – the genie’s lamp wasn’t in the foyer for photo taking opportunities.
At the time of our arrival the theatre was already busy, and after a quick bag check on the doors they allowed us into the foyer.
We browsed the merchandise a while and debated getting a pin badge, and the lamp ornament. Though we only picked up the show guide, a programme and a tote bag to get the books home safely with.
Without too longer wait the theatre stewards allowed those with Stall tickets down to the stalls bar. As we were still 30min before show start Donna and I had what is probably the most reasonably priced Coke that we’ve had in any theatre at £1.50 a bottle.
Additionally to the Coke I also had a glass of free! water; I had drunk little today and with the temperature I wanted to avoid dehydration.
After what didn’t seem like a long time at all the stewards allowed us into the theatre to take our seats.
Aladdin A Whole New World
The show was everything I’d hoped for and then some. The cast were excellent and our show was lucky enough to have not one but two actors reprise their roles from Broadway. Trevor Dion Nicholas as the genie and Courtney Reed as Jasmin – the latter being the original Jasmin from the musical.
Trevor is amazing as the genie; his localisation of the role to the UK from the Broadway version was subtle but just enough. Though not sure how many people in the audience got the Tommy Cooper reference. As in both the animation and the now live action; the genie really is the most important role to get right as every other character forms around him.
The rest of the cast were just as amazing; and only in writing this now have I realised how lucky we were to see the original Jasmin.
Friend Like Me was amazing; I avoided watching any YouTube clips of the Broadway version so as not to spoil it for me and loved every second, especially including pyrotechnics. There was one unfortunate side of having such a love for the song; where you would get the audience singing along and joining in when Genie asks for them to sing bippity boppity boo back; Donna and myself were the only ones to do so.
Coming from Birmingham where the audiences are very interactive with the cast and play’s; having a deadpan audience in the West End made me appreciate just how hard the cast were working to entertain us. The audience made me feel sad for the cast as I know they like to interact with the people watching.
Despite the negative of the audience the show is amazing; you should try to see it before it closes its doors in September.
Three other thoughts on the show before we move on with the rest of the day.
The flying carpet during Whole New World is amazing to see. I laughed though when the moon in the background changed to the earth. Must be a little cold flying that high.
Iago as a human; I adore Iago from the animation and think his character is more interesting than that of Jaffar. As a human on stage I like the different dynamic that the character has; at times it reminded me of LeFou with a bit of hero worship for Jaffar.
The final thought on the show relates to the new songs. I have been listening to them for ages on the Broadway soundtrack and enjoyed them. However, I couldn’t see how they fit into the show from listening to them in isolation. Now seeing them in the show I couldn’t see how the show couldn’t have them in.
As with everything there were a few negatives; though not to do with the production, and all to do with the audience.
First up; people don’t go to a theatre spending upward of £100 a ticket and spend the entire time on your Facebook feed. It’s insulting to the cast, it’s rude to other people in the audience and just a waste of your money.
Secondly; people attending the theatre come in all shapes and sizes, don’t moan under your breath that the people sat in front of you are tall. Especially when the theatre offer booster cushions for children.
Finally; and one that affected only me – a lady near us was wearing a lavender based perfume so by the end of the first act my eyes were streaming; so general message when in large public environments please consider peoples allergies.
After leaving the theatre we headed back to Piccadilly Circus intending to get the tube back to Euston from there. This turned out to be a bad idea due to even more crowds than usual there so we walked back to Oxford Circus instead.
We later found out that the Korean boy band BTS had hired the adverting screens there to play a music video of theirs for the fans who weren’t able to attend their concert at Wembley.
When we arrived at Euston, we both decided it was too early to eat before getting our train back to Birmingham so picked up sandwiches and drinks to eat later. We both got our sandwiches from Delice de France; both going for a ham and cheese though I had mine as a panini. We got drinks and snacks from WH Smiths; I had a Curiosity Cola and a bag of Proper Corn Lightly salted Popcorn. I didn’t make a note of the drink and snack that Donna picked up.
Finally we both picked up a donut from:
I chose the Galaxy one:
Donna had a cronut that she wasn’t able to get a photo of that was any good.
My donut was ok; definitely more in the looks than in the taste for me. Still a Dunkin’ Donut or Krispy Kreme guy I’m afraid.
Our train left Euston on time at 18:46; an hour earlier than the one we had planned on when we first started to plan this trip. But we had achieved everything that we had wanted to and most importantly saw and loved Aladdin as a West End musical.
Now I just have to hope that they bring Aladdin on tour so we can see it with a Birmingham audience!
Until next time; Just because you grow old doesn’t mean you have to grow up