The live stage musical of the first Disney movie I remember watching. It was on my to watch list for a long time. The first time I saw it was 2 years ago after a trip around Europe. I splurged and got a stalls seat with a great view of the stage and much to my disappointment it did not blow me away. I tried again getting a last-minute seat in the grand circle. And my god, I don’t know if it was the different perspective or different cast but they brought it.
So the theatre which is home to the Lion King is the Lyceum which is along the strand towards St Pauls cathedral. The stage is very deep which can be hard to see if your eye sight is a bit weaker but there is always something moving around the theatre. Some of the music has been added which isn’t in the film but it is just as good. My personal favourite being “he lives in you” performed for my viewing by Shaun Escoffery gave me chills. That guy is HOT and his voice is deep and soulful. Why does Mufasa have to die so early in the first act??
The character of Zazu is interpreted by Gary Jordan. This character is only enhanced as he is in the film though much of his lines are in the first act. During “I just can’t wait to be King” he is priceless as he is tormented by the young lions. This character has comedy timing and some clever tricks with the puppet.
Now Disney’s all time most relatable villains Scar. Life has been hard on him making him a sarcastic soulless bastard who hates pretty much everyone. I sometimes relate strongly to him. I feel like the actor didn’t do my favourite number “Be Prepared” the justice I expected of it. The second visit Geoffrey Asprey performed the number with more malice than the cartoon Scar. I will just admit I rock out to this song when I am in a bad and vengeful mood. Favourite line of the show; “I’m surrounded by idiots.”
Nala, Simba, Timone and Pumba are a great combination. Nala and Simba are played by child actors during the first half and they are so cute and their voices are incredible. But Simba and Nala performing “Can you feel the love tonight” is one of the most romantic scenes I have seen in the show. The comedy timing off all the actors in the second half and the clever use of the puppets will get you in fits of laughter.
Now the real difference between the show and the musical are the little difference and the live music. The circle of life has amazing puppets which enter down the allies during the opening song and Rafiki is mental! The wildebeest herd chasing Simba is so much more intense with the live music and background chorus reverberating around the theatre. The end fight seen is so intense in live action but it still keeps the mood of the film. But the most surprising part is the face of Mufasa talking to Simba in the clouds. Well you will just have to go and see it!
The Lion King is on the must-see list. I do not think it will be one of my regular visits like my other musicals that take me away. But I appreciate the story they have create using theatrics and with the right cast it can blow you away. Go see it if you can in its home at the Lyceum in London.