The posters have been plastered around the London Underground for years – long enough for this show to become the most successful musical of all time – but nothing prepares you for the sheer impact of 'The Lion King's opening sequence.
With the surge of 'Circle Of Life' reverberating through your chest, Julie Taymor's animal creations march on, species by species. Gazelles spring, birds swoop and an elephant and her child lumber through the stalls. It's a cacophonous cavalcade that genuinely stops you breathing. You'd think Noah's Ark had emptied onto the stage.
For a global blockbuster, 'The Lion King's absolute theatricality is astonishing. Techniques from all over the world – African masks, Japanese Kabuki costumes, Malaysian shadow puppetry – are smashed together in an explosion of spectacle. It's perfect for a musical, allowing both distinct flavours and an eclectic carnival spirit.
Admittedly, things deflate when it sacrifices this defiant originality for subservient approximation of the film. Timon and Pumba (Damian Baldet and Keith Bookman), though impressively like their screen counterparts, step into the savannah from a different dimension.
The hyena-infested elephant's graveyard swaps menace for goofiness and the famous stampede scene, so delicately handled and moving in the film, is merely ticked off with a sigh of relief.
The familiarity of the film is a root cause of the show's commercial success. But, ironically, 'The Lion King' can't afford such compromises. Its plot is thin enough to turn your brain to mulch and the score, which sits Elton John and Tim Rice's pop anthems with Lebo M's African-inspired additions, remains disjointed. Amongst the current cast, Andile Gumbi's Simba is too limply wholesome, but George Asprey and Shaun Escoffery are aptly majestic as Scar and Mufasa.
Nonetheless Taymor's theatrical fireworks, backed up by Donald Holder's oft-unsung, emotive lighting, are more than draw enough. 'The Lion King' is a show that demands to be seen.
|Venue name:||Lyceum Theatre||Contact:|
21 Wellington St
|Transport:||Tube: Covent Gdn|
|Price:||£25-£98. Runs 2hrs 30mins|
Average User Rating
4.3 / 5
- 5 star:39
- 4 star:6
- 3 star:5
- 2 star:3
- 1 star:3
not impressed with the singing quality. was really excited and it was just not a good performance by the actors that played Simba and Scar. Great costume design though
I paid a lot of money for tickets to this show and consequently I was a bit weary and my expectations were high. I have to say that this play was absolutely amazing and exceeded my expectations by far!
The staging is definitely one of the best ones I have seen in the London theatre scene and the acting was powerful. The scenes, sets and costumes were excellent and exotic and manage to bring the Disney story to live.
Discover it yourself, I will not disclose anything about set ups, just this comment: when I left the room, I had the impression my money (a lot of money) had been 300% well invested.
What an amazing experience! The actors, the musicians, the special effects, the people behind the lights...everything was perfect! It was funny, it was sad, it was soo realistic! I liked it so much that I will definitely see it again! Thank you for the great performance!
Such a special movie for a 6-year old me, which turned into a great musical 22 years later. I loved every single characterization, specially the way you built the hyenas and the impalas. Great representation, awesome theatre! I'm already recommending to all of my friends, believing their inner child will reemerge. I will definitely watch more musicals!
My expectations for this show were really high, even just from the way it's advertised around London. But nothing prepares you for the impact of the first scene of this musical, I was literally in awe for what took place as soon as the actors-animals entered the stage one after the other.
While the child inside of you rejoice for what your eyes are seeing, it's almost impossible not to be amazed by the high fidelity original soundtrack played by the orchestra under the stage and by the two percussionists.
5/5 on all fronts for me.
One of the best musicals I've every watched. It's visually delightful and the music will have you humming all the way home.
Phe-nom-me-nal! I've even watched this twice (most likely because I'm a Lion King fanatic) but it truly is well reenacted by the cast for this. The youngn's who play child Simba and Nala were so great, I was actually surprised to see such perfect acting and singing skills at such a young age - even to the grown up versions who did full justice to the film. Rafiki was played a lady and since it's my fave character, I was thrilled and absolutely in tears from laughter as to how she played him!
It's a wonderful colourful experience and you'll be singing your socks off with them for sure.
Oh, and you're likely to fall in love with the guy who plays Scar, plenty of chuckes were due to him.
Went with my family to see this and it was worth every penny.
The opening scene with the amazing characters and costumes pouring through the audience, brought my Mum to tears (and she doesn't usually cry at that sort of thing). Truly breath taking.
I have seen other reviewers mention that the child actors are not very strong. I agree yes they aren't the strongest and Nala stuttered in her song when I went, but everyone makes mistakes and they are so brave to be performing at their age and especially when singing from the back of gigantic Ostriches! No word can describe the costumes, just exquisite genius.
Before I end up rambling about how amazing this show is, I cannot recommend it highly enough! You simply have to see it. My Aunty has just booked tickets after already seeing the show 4 times. Best musical, best stage show, best performance I have ever seen. The set and lighting and music are brilliant and the lead characters have such powerful voices.
The best part of the show were the songs, loved the costumes and special effects, however the child actors were my only critique, their performance could have been better.
Soooooo boring, very over rated. Plus the acting wasn't great at all. Glad I was offered a ticket and didn't pay for it. Really wouldnt reacommend it. Even for kids it's verrrrrrrrry loooong. The costumes were ok, teh story VERY weak, the choreography inextistant. I had very high expectations I must say but what a disapointment. Trully AWFUL.
definitely fun and well made, I was hoping for a few more dances and choreographies (and maybe for a bit more spectacular scenes), it must definitely look more epic and grandiose to children, nonetheless a nice musical that will cheer up your day :)
What can you say apart from, go and see it, amazing show and i am tempted to go back again: the costumes where fantastic along with the music which we all know and love. I was more excited than my children and we managed to stay quite close to the theatre at the Strand Palace Hotel and that was beautiful, i know the hotels get really booked up around the west end but this might help if you’re looking to go and see the Lion King. http://www.chilloutguide.co.uk/locations/london-west-end-information-accommodation-guide/ it really is a must see musical.
The whole show was simply mind-blowing, the costumes, the performers. It's definitely one of the best shows in town, if not the best. The performance given by the kids was especially impressive.
This was a truly amazing experience! My daughter and I were enchanted from the first moment the animal creations came through the audience. Creative costumes, beautiful singing and lovely venue. Coming from Guernsey where there are no theatres, this was a real treat.
Beautiful performance, amazing costumes and definetely must see musical when you are in London!! Can't wait to show it to my nieces,,
Simply amazing. The costumes, the music, the mechanics of the show made the Lion King an enchanting mix of art and craft, seizing the audience for the whole show! I would go back with pleasure!
So glad I got over my theatre-snobbishness and let Granny take us. All 3 generations of the family loved it. Remarkably fresh. You have nothing to worry about!
FABULOUS!!! Took friend who were in from the US. They LOVED every minute of this show. It was their first time seeing a show in the west end & the Lion King did not disappoint. They and we will be back. Awesome actors, set & the costumes are over the top.
I went for my 21st birthday and it was the best show I have ever seen by far! The music was fantastic and it was really well done with all of the little surprises. The costumes were incredible and I can't wait to go again!
Excellence is too small a word to describe the show. If you can check my booking, it will be seen that I did same on line from our base in Lagos, Nigeria for the entire family (visiting London on holidays) and my daughters, ages 7 & 9 went ballistic on seeing live, the stage adaption of their favorite film. We were all more than blown away, the detailed costumes, the stage and sound effects were excellent. All the persons involved effectively paid their part. it really caped our trip as we will be heading back on the 29/12/2013.
One must watch the Lion King at least once in his life - Awesome performance, Brilliant Costumes, a Feel Good show !!!!
Emotionally gripping story with vivid acrobatics & beautifully written music to compliment the atmosphere of the story
OMG!!! The performance and the wonderful singing voices, amazing costumes... The show is brilliant. Must watch!
Watched it for the second time- taking my hubby this time. I loved every detail of the show like I was watching it for the first time! Amazing! Must watch!
What a fabulous Musical. It was the best Musical I've ever seen. The performance,the make-up and the lovely singing voices.I'll definately go again and take my kids with and tell friends to go and see it as well. Well done to all the actors,actresses and kids, you've done a great Job.
One of the greatest disappointments ever! Although the sets, scenery, amazing costumes, and lighting were very impressive, the quality of the performance was so below par for a West End show, that I felt I was at a 5th year play at a children's school. The singing was adequate, the acting was appalling, and the dancing nothing to write home about. One feels that maybe after so many years on the boards, a grade 3 troupe has been substituted for what may once have been a top-notch cast. It was monotonous and boring, and quite frankly I couldn't wait for it to end.
We went there with 16 people, of different age, and they all were excited about the show. It was a great experience, and a marvelous show. One of the main characters was singing a little out of tone, but the rest was really great. Grand opening and majestic scenes in between. If you get in the vicinity, get tickets and enjoy!