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Aladdin's boys just wanna have fun

AAP logoAAP 29/08/2016 By Lisa Robinson

Aladdin might be missing his monkey sidekick Abu in the Disney stage show, but he's never had friends like these three lads.

Babkak, Omar and Kassim - or BOK as they're affectionately known backstage - are Aladdin's thieving friends from Agrabah who are by his side through thick and thin as he rises from street rat to Sultan in the musical comedy.

The trio was originally written into the Academy Award-winning 1992 Disney film but was scrapped and replaced with Aladdin's kleptomaniac pet monkey Abu.

"We were always in the vault of the original creatives and we're being breathed back to life," said Robert Tripolino, who plays Omar in the Sydney production.

Tripolino is joined onstage by real-life pals Adam-Jon Fiorentino, who plays Kassim, and Troy Sussman, who plays Babkak.

The chemistry between the three is electric and natural.

Hailing from Victoria, Fiorentino, Sussman and Tripolino have worked together on other shows and spent so much time rehearsing for Aladdin that they've morphed into a little family.

"It's like Rob's the kid, Troy's the mum and I'm the filthy drunk uncle," joked Fiorentino.

"We're one unit," said Sussman.

"We're actually in sync. And not like the band. We're starting to think the same, it's scary," added Tripolino.

The show is a kaleidoscope of colours with crazy costume changes and rich set design, and Michael James Scott's Genie is the undeniable star.

But with sword-fighting songs like High Adventure it's the BOK boys who have the most fun and get the most laughs.

"Our job is to come to work, hang out with our mates, have fun on stage and keep the energy moving," said Fiorentino.

"Can't complain about sword fighting and singing and running around on stage, it's the best," added Sussman.

Their antics start offstage during their extensive pre-show warm-up where they constantly taunt each other.

While 46-year-old Sussman skips rope, stretches and explains what it takes to get "show fit', 35-year-old Fiorentino cuts in.

"He usually starts the day with dialysis and some stem cell therapy. Then he comes in with his little oxygen bottle," Fiorentino said, deadpan.

Back in the change room, Fiorentino readies his chest like a Tongan flag bearer while Tripolino makes coffees and Sussman offers up his homemade turmeric power potion.

"We'll all happily get in two hours earlier than required and that's easy, it's actually not an effort for any of us," Tripolini said.

"We want to come to work, we want to be here, we want to have fun," said Sussman.

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