The Lion King, Lyceum Theatre

Brilliantly reimagined by acclaimed director Julie Taymor, Disney’s beloved film has been transformed into a spectacular stage production that explodes with glorious colours, stunning effects and enchanting music. At its heart is the powerful and moving story of Simba – the epic adventure of his journey from wide-eyed cub to his destined role as King of the Pridelands.

My mum has always wanted to see The Lion King but any time she’s been to London we haven’t been able to make it work for various reasons. There wouldn’t be a show that day, train times got in the way or the tickets were simply too damn expensive. But when her and my niece were coming down a day in advance of us heading to the seaside for a long weekend luck was on our side and I was able to secure us three second row stalls seats (my mum has a fear of heights so the circles aren’t for her, especially not at the Lyceum!) for just £50 each as they were “restricted view”.

They were right on the end of a row and the seat reviews said that there was one point in the show where a character was laying down and you wouldn’t be able to see them – that was the only issue. These seats were £20-30 cheaper than those right next to us so I always recommend checking out seat reviews if you are considering restricted view tickets – sometimes what the theatre considers restricted view isn’t the same as what you would and you can grab a bargain. (For more tips on saving money on theatre tickets check out this post.)

Anyway the show… it gets great reviews absolutely everywhere you look and sorry to disappoint but you won’t find anything different here I’m afraid! It was simply put, a spectacular show from the very first moment. The opening sequence made my jaw drop with its complexity and literally gave me goosebumps. I really wasn’t sure how they would turn humans into these animal characters in an effective way but with the clever use of masks and puppetry they make it believable.

The directors one central rule was that the performer would never be hidden by the device – “One of the most powerful elements of the film is the rich humanity of the animal characters,” and this certainly shines through. The actors dance across the stage gracefully and with poise each with their own small but effective mannerisms. There’s not a single performance that feels out-of-place but I have to give mention to the little girl who was playing Nala on the evening of performance – that girl was born a star, her enthusiasm for being on stage was evident every second she was up there.

The story remains true to that of the original Disney film with many of the original songs being included as well as a few new ones but for a musical the focus really is on the visual delights on offer which makes a wonderful change from shows that rely on their songs to hook the audience. The combination of the two gives the theatre an almost carnival feel that gives the show universal appeal – proved by an audience full of people of all ages. Yes, it’s one of the more expensive shows in London at the moment but it was worth every penny and I thoroughly recommend it to all.

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