Aladdin: The Magical Family Musical! directed by Ted Dykstra, with Jennifer Dale, Adam Brazier, Bret "Hitman" Hart, Derek McGrath and Ross Petty. Presented by Ross Petty Productions at the Elgin Theatre (189 Yonge). Runs to December 31, various shows 2 and 7 pm (no shows Mondays, Christmas Day and Boxing Day). $47-$69, child $37-$39. 416-872-5555. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
if you're going to hire a former pro wrestler to draw in crowds for your show, you might as well make him earn his salary doing what he does best. Sure enough, in the final scene of Aladdin: The Magical Family Musical! , the symbolic wedding ring turns out to be - you guessed it - a wrestling ring where Bret "Hitman" Hart gets to strut his stuff, holding our attention along with the cast's bodies.
Ironically, Hart doesn't look too comfortable in this scene, but he shows more emotion than he does glumly mouthing the lyrics to the show's final musical number.
The fact that the show is Aladdin and that Hart plays the Genie of the Lamp is incidental. Ross Petty 's holiday pantos are interchangeable.
Cinderella or Robin Hood, does it really matter?
The mom's played in drag, Petty gets booed as the baddie, the leads are perky and cute, and the chorus consists of lots of energetic Sheridan grads. Oh, and there are lots and lots of corny jokes.
This year's jokes include bits about the empty Air Canada Centre, low-carb diets, the Mirvishes' financial situation and a funny sequence based on The Apprentice.
Tellingly, there's no mention of the war in Iraq. Maybe director Ted Dykstra wanted to avoid controversy, considering the fairy tale's quasi-Arabic setting.
In this version, Aladdin (Mamma Mia's Adam Brazier , who looks like he's having fun) is a skater boi in love with rich Princess Jacuzzi ( Rhoslynne Bugay ), who's put under a spell by the evil Abanazeer (Petty), who's pretending to be Aladdin's uncle.
It's all inoffensive and unpretentious fun, occasionally punctuated by high-energy dance sequences (choreographed by the talented Tracey Flye ), and including spirited, let's-complete-this-run-with-dignity performances by Jennifer Dale as Sheherezade, a combo narrator/vampish genie, and Kyle Dadd , who seems to be channelling Jim Backus 's Thurston Howell III as the Sultan.