The Lion King Review
Lion King the musical is an exciting feast for all the senses. Well-loved songs are performed alongside exciting and bright visuals which makes for a spectacular production that is perfect family fun for all ages and that will be loved by all.
An adaptation of Walt Disney’s classic movie The Lion King opened on Broadway in 1997 and has been a huge success worldwide, with over 100 million people having watched productions that have been shown across the globe. The multi-award winning musical is currently running in the West End at the Lyceum Theatre and has been since late 1999.
For the Disney classic die-hard fans and musical lovers alike, The Lion King musical brings the famous story to life on stage. Throughout you can hear favourite songs such as ‘Circle of Life’, ‘I Just Can’t Wait to Be King’ and ‘Hakuna Matata’, all from the original Elton John and Tim Rice score. Additional songs have also been written for the stage production by big names such as Hans Zimmer and Lebo M however these don’t always sit well against the well-loved original score.
There really is nothing like The Lion King. Initially I wondered despite rave reviews and all the awards if The Lion King musical could stand up to the Disney film however using the Serengeti Plains as a backdrop, you find yourself right there in Africa stunned by the incredible quality of the production. The director and designer Julie Taymor – the first female to win the Best Direction of a Musical Tony award – manages to transport you there with the exciting visuals of colour, the wondrous sounds and animals which storm the stage in abundance. As the stage comes alive with your favourite characters, a mixture of actors in costumes and hollow puppets are used to portray the wide range of animals – even a life sized elephant!
Sticking close to the original movie, the musical tells the coming of age story of Simba, after the murder of his father by his uncle, beginning to understand his role in the circle of life. Despite the darker subject matter, the stage show as the film before it remains heart-warming and uplifting and really is perfect for all ages. Recently, some of the songs have been shortened and a musical number even removed to ensure that the run-time of this musical remains family friendly.
Not only are new scenes added to the show but large dance numbers really bring energy to this exciting production. If you manage to catch the show further ashore you may be in for a surprise. Around the globe you will find differences from country to country – China’s run of the show, for example, included Chinese elements such as a song that was adapted into a well-known Chinese pop song.
Disney have in more recent years attempted to recreate their success with ‘The Little Mermaid’, and ‘Aladdin’ stage shows and now have a ‘Frozen’ adaptation in the works yet so far none have come close to the imaginative and creative outlier of The Lion King which is an absolute must-see regardless of a few missteps along the way. Young or old, I would thoroughly recommend getting tickets to see The Lion King musical – it is a spectacle for the senses and is worth every penny!