Last week we went to see Disney’s Aladdin at NCPA in Mumbai. It’s a Broadway-style production, along the lines of the immensely successful and acclaimed Beauty and the Beast. My nephew had parts to play, and so we were among the privileged family and friends watching the first show.
It was a very creditable show, with superb performances by the cast, especially actor Mantra who played the Genie with much aplomb and skill. The musical reflected the local flavour of Mumbai, with a few digs at Mumbai’s SoBo crowd and traffic, very cleverly woven into the script. Not a single actor seemed to miss a beat. Or at least none that was noticeable!
How did it compare with the Beauty and the Beast? Well, the stage and production were not as grand as Beauty and the Beast, which was performed at the Dome theatre of NSCI, with its 360 degree stage and absolutely brilliant special effects. The songs in Aladdin were I felt, one too many and not as catchy, yet, there is no taking away from the fact that this was a stage musical setting very high standards indeed. Another highlight was the floating magic carpet. We oohed and aahed over it. Very smart.
But the journey to NCPA from Lower Parel was a fraught one. First of all, we went in peak evening traffic, which as everyone knows in Mumbai, is tolerable only if armed with an iPad or a Kindle or a smart phone, snacks, and plenty of time. Thinking conversation with family would happen, I had not carried an iPad or a Kindle. I find I hate reading books on my iPhone. Peering into the screen gives me a headache which just complicates everything.
The anticipated conversation was nipped in the bud by hubby, who had a scheduled conference call! So as he listened intently to the call, one hand held up to check any impulsive talk on our part, my son and I were suitably chastened, shushed and silenced. My son saw an opportunity here and took charge of my phone. He apparently doesn’t have any problems playing games on the small screen. I can only marvel at him.
We were getting horribly delayed for the show. Hubby had thought the play was at NSCI. Now, I never mentioned NSCI to him. Nor did I mention the NCPA. But anyway, he couldn’t cavil much at me. As we reached Babulnath, a message from my nephew reassured us that the show was delayed, so we would surely make it. As we sat up from our slumped postures, we reached Wankhede Stadium and drove straight into the most godawful jam. Apparently a key IPL match was just about to start there! Talk about timing!!
Suffice to say, thanks to the tardiness at the NCPA end, we managed to make the show, missing just the first few moments. But later I wished, we had had the magic carpet to whiz past the traffic conundrums…Lucky Aladdin!