In the MacRobert Playhouse on April 14 and 15, the Stirling University Musical Theatre Society staged its sold-out performances of Starkid’s ‘Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier.’
‘Twisted’ is a retelling of the events of Aladdin, following the well-meaning public servant Ja’far and his desperate mission to bring happiness back to the Magic Kingdom, all while blamed for all the kingdom’s problems and faced with a war with Pik-Zahr.
Though Ja’far claims that ‘life is a series of compromises and disappointments,’ this clever, chaotic musical was anything but.
‘Twisted’ is full of sly references, brought to life by a remarkable cast. Sherrezade’s wonderfully light opening monologue describes a Magic Kingdom that once prospered because of ‘the 2-D’s,’ duty and devotion – spun into a clever double entendre that made the audience laugh aloud.
The laughs continued throughout the performance. Whether it was Prince Achmed of Pik-Zahr screeching declarations of war, a hyper blue djinn that only talks in movie references, or Aladdin’s less-than-subtle attempts to seduce the Princess, the audience was in stitches for the entire show.
The colourful lighting and well-timed sound effects added brilliantly to every scene. Even in the more serious moments, the monkey doing the macarena in the background, the parrot hand puppet and the endless swearing kept the show from getting too intense.
Finlay Cook had the audience rooting for Ja’far from the start, giving an impressive performance as a hopeful, incredibly likeable character. The strong vocals and funny asides had us in stitches. His heartwarming performance of his backstory, and sweet moments with Sherrezade, had us hanging onto his every word.
Jillian Hinz’ performance of the Princess made a spoiled, naive character utterly charming. The Princess’ maturing throughout the play, told through great vocals and energetic acting, was incredibly relatable and satisfying to watch.
Despite being the villain, Em Allardyce’s ‘sex-crazed ruffian’ Aladdin was spectacularly likeable. Whether singing about being orphaned at 33 or dragging around a flying carpet, they stole the audience’s hearts. Fitting, since they steal everything).
Calum Moore’s brilliant vocals and interactions with the guards made for a remarkable performance as Achmed, ‘a sovereign ruler, but with feelings too.’ Gwendolyn Glodt’s bizarre voice and movements made the Sultan absurdly enjoyable to watch.
Every performer on the stage brought their characters to life. This reviewer finds it incredibly difficult not to list and praise them all. The whole show was compelling, heartwarming and completely brilliant. SUMT has ensured that ‘Twisted’ is a story you will definitely want to know.
Featured Image Credit: Niamh Brook
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