The Lion King

Johan Persson
Brinkhoff/Mögenburg, Hamburg
Lyceum Theatre, Aldwych Until Sunday October 4 2015
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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
Address: 21 Wellington St
Transport: Tube: Covent Gdn
Event website:

Average User Rating

4.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:19
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:3
2 people listening
Emmanuel R

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.

Chiara T

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 :) 

michael D

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. 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.

Maxine Watts

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.

Zuzana Kromkova

Beautiful performance, amazing costumes and definetely must see musical when you are in London!! Can't wait to show it to my nieces,,

Lorraine Camille

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!

Laurie UK

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!

Thomas Isaiah Oluwafemi

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 !!!!

Stephen Higgins

Emotionally gripping story with vivid acrobatics & beautifully written music to compliment the atmosphere of the story


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!

Zelma Louise Villiger

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.

Linda Triffon

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!


My 16 year old and I went to the Lion King. It didn't disappoint. The costumes were amazing, we both loved the animals and the feel of Africa. It is very entertaining. When we were there, the main characters didn't have the best of voices, but that didn't affect our overall enjoyment of the show. Worth to go and see, especially with children ages 5 up.


I took my two girls (aged 3 and 6) to see the Lion King. My do not understand English, but they understood the plot as they had seen the cartoon version of the Lion King. The girls had a real great time from start to finish. I enjoyed the music and songs and very much liked the costumes and the animals. The show is fun and must be seen. Rating: 5 lions.


I cant quite believe that this began almost 14 years ago! It's one of the most powerful things I will probably ever see on stage and the magnitude of what they have created is still yet, in my opinion, to really be topped