Everyone raved about The Lion King being a must-see and as it was my child-hood favourite movie I thought it was about time I went and saw it. And it was AMAZING! It being the highest grossing stage show in history does not surprise me.
I’m sure you all know the story and if you do you probably won’t need much convincing. For those of you who don’t, what have you been doing?! The Lion King follows the story of Simba, a lion cub, next in line for the throne. His evil uncle Scar, also, wants to be King so conjures up a plan to make it happen. Not to give too much away, Simba leaves his kingdom (for reasons I won’t disclose) and meets two unlikely friends, Timon, the meerkat and Pumbaa, the warthog who add such comedy to the show. He then returns to his kingdom and it’s a happy ending, I promise.
I wasn’t convinced that a movie about talking animals would translate well on stage but I couldn’t have been more wrong! It was so well done. With gigantic elephants, and actors on stilts as giraffes, and high flying birds propelling at the top of long bending poles, walked down the isles of the theatre, emerging the audience into the scene. The magical spectacle was accompanied by African rhythms, further transporting us.
The director makes no attempt to disguise that these animals are performed by humans but rather than deflecting from reality, it only makes it all the more magical. Actors stride on stage with grass sprouting from the heads, silk white ribbon tears streaming from the lion’s eyes, just to name a few. All such amazing touches that really brought the whole theatre to life. Timon was also interestingly done with skilful puppeteering using bodily movement to create a three -dimensional figure and Timon was a big purple warthog, just as you’d expect. The two complimented each other brilliantly.
The use of lighting was one part that really struck me. To fill in the gaps of some of the plot points, shadows were used to express what was happening in the absence of the human actors which was so beautifully done.
The engaging story line and the magnificent craftsmanship means that it is a production for everyone of all ages to enjoy.