What can one say about the London musical phenomenon known as The Lion King which has not been said already? This version of the famous Disney film has been wowing audiences for over two decades in the West End and the production is showing no signs of age.
The plot is by now surely known to all. It centres on young cub Simba as he struggles to come to terms with the death of his father Mufasa. Mufasa has been cruelly killed by Simba’s evil uncle Scar and although Simba himself survives, he is forced to go into exile. Years later, Simba returns home, bent on righting wrongs and taking up his rightful place as king.
This musical version of the story is now the most successful musical of all time on Broadway and it is also consistently one of the highest grossing musicals in the world. A great deal of the show’s success can be attributed to the Lion King’s outstanding staging and showmanship.
Nothing quite prepares you for the production’s first number. Elton John’s Circle of Life providing the musical backdrop to a thrilling spectacle which sees species after species march onto the stage. It’s breathtaking stuff and it’s hard to imagine what the show can do to top it but the production is only just getting started.
A word about the music. You will almost certainly know The Circle of Life and Can You Feel the Love Tonight already. These two songs give a good indication of the quality of the music in the production and with two musical titans (Elton John and Tim Rice) at the helm, how can the score go wrong?
The brilliance of the music is thankfully matched by Julie Taymor’s animal creations. Taymor, the show’s director, has created several animal puppets and masks for the production and each one works impressively. The director has created everything from swooping gazelles to majestic elephants and each animal has been realised with a quite phenomenal attention to detail. The stage may occasionally resemble the boarding call for Noah’s Ark, but the animals are certainly one of the highlights of the show.
The Lion King is an enduring triumph that will continue to thrill audiences for years to come. The music, staging and costumes are all breathtaking and the whole thing is a feast for the viewer. Go see it. You will not be sorry.
The Lion King is currently booking until the 2nd of October 2022 at the Lyceum Theatre. More information about the production can be found here.
If you would like to know more London musicals, please click here.