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A Perfect 'Aladdin' for Preschoolers

October 30, 1987|LYNNE HEFFLEY

"If you don't hiss, I won't turn all your noses into pumpkins," growls the evil magician to the audience in "Aladdin and His Lamp" at Theatre West.

But the crowd was not to be intimidated. As the magician tried to trick Aladdin out of his magic lamp, preschoolers booed, hissed and helped Aladdin out with their own magic words: "Shazam, chocolate spaghettios!"

Here's a participatory show for kids that, while definitely targeted at the preschool-kindergarten set, has enough witty asides and well-timed comic performances to make it pleasant for parents as well.

Adapted and directed by Lloyd J. Schwartz, the Storybook Theatre production features a deft professional cast, particularly Bob McCracken as the sneaky Magician with goggly eyes and painted mustache, and Larry Harpel as the good-hearted Genie.

Bettina Devin does a humorous turn as a hip Princess, Linda L. Rand as Aladdin's Mother demonstrates seasoned comic sense, and as Aladdin, Joe Lucas possesses the right amount of wide-eyed wonder.

The down-side of this good-humored musical is the music. The songs are uninspired for the most part, as are the singing voices--the exceptions being Devin and Rand. And, please: Does Harpel really have to say "us genies" when he means "we genies"?

The show's at 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West at 1 p.m. Saturday; (213) 851-7977. Admission is $5; a 50-cent ticket discount is offered for anyone who wears a Halloween costume.

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