Oct 10th, 2009
Don't assume that just because you've seen the Disney movie of Lion King you know what's coming in the stage production. Sure the storyline is basically the same, but bringing such an epic landscape to life on the stage is quite a feat of creative skill that has yet to be matched anywhere else on stage.
Its also seems to be a popular misconception that really young kids (up to 5 or 6) will enjoy the show just because they sit spellbound by the movie at home. Believe me - they won't. If they can see what's happening on stage and can get to the interval without a major upset, you will be doing well. The night I saw the show there was a small parade of departing parents with very small children at the interval.
And this is just too good a show to spend that sort of money on until the children hit 7 or 8 and upwards and can really enjoy the magic that is created on stage in The Lion King. Make a point of sitting by the aisles in the stalls if you can so that the parade of animals that quietly makes its way through the auditorium arrives as a special surprise to your young charges - they won't be dissappointed.
The costumes take a moment of getting used to as your mind adjusts to this new world. Once adjusted the strength of the plot and its wonderful score carry you along. Young Simba is the lion cub and the audience follows his journey through life on the plains of Africa (you know the story). Everyone will love the warthog and his habit of passing wind and every musical number is staged to magical effect.
The running of the wildebeast is quite something and as you enjoy spotting the different animals and birds depicted on stage, spare a thought for the performers who have perfected the movement of a cheetah, or spent days getting into the role of a zebra. It is their skill that really makes the whole thing so compelling.
The Lion King is now in its second decade on the London stage but remains one of the safest bets for a great family night at the theatre, and a wonderful introduction to the magical world of live stage performance.
Great night out: for all the family - young and old
Recommend to friends: without doubt
Best bit: The procession of the animals through the auditorium
The Lycem Theatre is located just off the Aldwych and is a short walk from Covent Garden and all its amenities. The stalls are recommended for the excitement of the animal parade, but views are good from all sections of the theatre.