Now running in its 17th year in London, The Lion King is still awe-inspiring. The beautifully reimagined musical by director Julie Taymor brings Disney’s beloved classic to life. We went down to the Lyceum Theatre to escape to the kingdom of the Pride Lands.
The cast of The Lion King instantly takes us out of the theatre and into the Pride Lands as the first notes echo through the room and the sun rises above Pride Rock. We are surrounded by the brilliantly crafted costumes of the elephants, birds and giraffes as they celebrate the birth of little Simba.
On their forbidden exploration of the elephant graveyard, lion cubs Simba (played by Jonathan Andrew Hume) and his friend Nala (played by Nava Brennan) stumble upon the three hyenas, whose looks and characters are both creepy and adorable. Rescued by his father, Mufasa (played by Shaun Escoffery), Simba must promise to never go beyond the borders of Pride Rock ever again. When Mufasa dies later on, Simba escapes into the desert, feeling responsible for his father’s death. Out there in the dry and empty wastelands he meets Timon and Pumbaa (played by Richard Frame and Keith Bookman), who become his travelling buddies, living the carefree life of Hakuna Matata. We cannot help but sing along to this fun anthem of ‘no worries for the rest of your days’ and its ‘problem-free philosophy’.
When Simba returns to the Pride Lands to fight his uncle Scar (played by George Asprey), the plot-master of all mischievous happenings in Pride Rock, for his rightful place as king of Pride Rock, it feels as though the entire audience is on Simba’s side. So much so that for the curtain call, Scar is indeed booed – however, a loving boo, because Scar’s musical skills are far from being anything but applaudable.
The Lion King has everything you wish for in a musical, and an abundance of that altogether – amazingly crafted costumes, a beautifully built stage, spot-on portrayals of your favourite Disney characters, sing-along anthems with a feel-good factor and an overall explosion of colours and emotions. This production is perfect for all ages, and is a definite must-see in London’s West End.
Disney presents The Lion King is currently booking at Lyceum Theatre, secure your seats at Ticketmaster.co.uk.