Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 17 January 2020

A lavish Arabic stage version of 'Aladdin' is coming to Abu Dhabi

Starring Ahmed Ezz, the performance premiers in the Saudi capital Riyadh today

Egyptian actor Ahmed Ezz arrives to a press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to discuss the Arabic stage adaption of the Disney classic 'Aladdin'. Yahya Al Bargi
Egyptian actor Ahmed Ezz arrives to a press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to discuss the Arabic stage adaption of the Disney classic 'Aladdin'. Yahya Al Bargi

An Arabic stage version of Aladdin is coming to Abu Dhabi next year.

Speaking from the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, where the show will hold its world premiere, director Magdy Al Hawary told The National the production will make its way to the capital before summer.

“So far the plans are to premiere here in Riyadh, then Cairo, followed by a bigger tour of Saudi Arabia,” he says. “After that, we will go to Jordan and Kuwait and Abu Dhabi before European shows next summer.”

Created by the company Cairo Show, the production will run for four nights at the Blue Hall Theatre in Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University, as part of the ongoing Riyadh Season festival.

Leading the cast are Egyptian actors Ahmed Ezz and Tara Emad, who will star as Aladdin and Jasmine respectively. They will be joined by Mohammed Tharwat as the Genie, Hesham Ismail as Jafar and Samy Maghawry as the Sultan.

It is not yet confirmed whether the same cast will appear in Abu Dhabi next year.

When it comes to the script, Al Hawary says his version of Aladdin would be steeped in Arabic culture. This is a reaction, he states, to this year’s Hollywood film adaptation starring Egypt’s Mena Massoud and US star Will Smith.

“Look, the film was beautifully made and it worked on the production and technical aspects,” Al Hawary says. “But what bothered me about the film is that it lacked an Arabic identity. It was inspired more by Bollywood than the Arab world in which the story is actually set. This stage show will bring back Aladdin to its roots.”

Another anticipated feature of the production is seeing Ezz, who starred in popular films Mozakarat Moraheqa (Memoirs of a Teenager) and The Cell, making his debut stage performance.

“It was a challenge during the initial rehearsals as I was completely ignorant to the rules of the stage. I was helped a lot by the cast and crew until I found my feet,” he says. “What I enjoyed about working on this production is its ambition. The director Magdy Al Hawary always told me we can take a lot of things to the next level and I loved being part of that atmosphere.”

As for taking on the role of Jasmine, Emad – who appeared in cinemas this year in the thriller hit El Feel Al Azraq 2 (The Blue Elephant 2) – says she is excited at being part of a lavish production.

“To be doing a stage show on this level is amazing,” she says. “I also had doubts too whether I can pull it off, but I also got a lot of encouragement from the team and I can’t wait for everyone to see it.”

Aladdin will be performed from Thursday, December 25 to Saturday, December 28, at the Blue Hall Theatre, Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University, Riyadh Saudi Arabia. Tickets start from KSA 50 (Dh48.05) at www.ticketmx.com. More information on Riyadh Season is available here riyadhseason.sa

Updated: December 25, 2019 11:09 AM

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