The Lion King
Time Out says
Kids will go wild for this majestic jungle musical
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.
This review is from 2011. The cast of 'The Lion King' currently includes Shaun Escoffery (Mustafa), George Asprey (Scar), Brown Lindiwe Mkhize (Rafiki), Gary Jordan (Zazu), Ben Heathcote (Timon), Keith Bookman (Pumbaa), Nick Afoa (Simba) and Janique Charles (Nala).
How to get cheap tickets: a limited number of day seats for each night’s performance will go on sale at the box office every morning from 10am, priced £20-£25 each. In person only.
|Venue name:||Lyceum Theatre|
|Transport:||Tube: Covent Garden/Embankment|
Users say (85)
Average User Rating
4.2 / 5
- 5 star:55
- 4 star:10
- 3 star:9
- 2 star:6
- 1 star:5
The Lion King was a fantastic production for many reasons. It had songs everyone was familiar with which made you feel more involved. Also, it had a good storyline, which kept us interested. I think the main characteristic of this play was the puppets and costumes. For example, the way the actors moved, especially the giraffes, made the animals feel more real. At one part of the play there was so much going on, with so many different animals on stage, and more in the boxes above us and in the aisles. We were made to feel part of the play because there was lots going on all around us. The opening scene built up layers of animals and sounds. All of the animals came onto the stage; for example giraffes, gazelles, lions and zebras. The a huge elephant came down the aisle, followed by birds 'swooping' over our heads. Also, in the boxes above us, people played drums. Another aspect of the play was imagery. In one scene Simba was made to look like he was running, but he actually wasn't moving anywhere. In my opinion, there is nothing negative to say about this play. I would recommend this play to all ages because it is very family friendly and a well-known story. This play would especially be appealing to children aged between 6 and 12.
One of the best musicals I have seen, I personally would go again. I highly recommend it you will not be disappointed
A really wonderful production, that is true to the original film but with enough personal elements to make it feel like you're not just watching a rehash of something else. The only reservation I had was that the kid playing Simba wasn't the greatest singer but that shouldn't take away from the fact that it's pretty special in almost every regard.
Bought tickets online and only found seats that were not together. Half term program for my big boys (11 and 13 year old) and me. When I collected the tickets at the box office I was simply informed that we could not attend the theartre beacuse seats were not together. I was told there is a policy at the theater that under 16s cannot sit alone! No notice was given at the purchase of individual seats!!!
Amazing how the manager could do nothing to help. Worst customer service ever!!! 15/02/2018
We were simply given refund for tickets but absolutely nothing to compensate the lost day, travel and frustration. Another family was facing the same situation.
How can they treat clients soooo badly?
Disney’s Lion King blew me away! Catering for all ages, everyone will enjoy this show. A little bit of puppetry, face painting and beautiful costumes makes for an eye catching performance against smart stage design that makes you appreciate that confined space. The storyline sticks to the movie, and watching Simba grow, fall in love and return as the Lion King made me somewhat emotional. I plan to go again - that’s how much I enjoyed it!
The Perfect Family Show
All the songs you love from the film put in a beautiful setting.The puppets transform into real life animals before your eyes.
Seats in the aisle in the stalls give you a close up view, would recommend
I've always been a huge Disney fan so it pains me to say that I was disappointed by the Lion King. After all of the rave reviews, I had really high expectations but just felt it was a tad overrated. The production was beautiful but I wasn't as moved by the performances as I had expected. I don't think it helps that we were surrounded by a rather noisy school group which was distracting at times (something to bear in mind when choosing performance times). Perhaps if we had better seats this may have been a more memorable experience but it still doesn't take away from my love for this Disney classic.
Arguably the best Disney movie and soundtrack, therefore how can this being live on stage not be a good thing?? The sets, costumes and vocals are just incredible. I've seen this twice now and got goosepimples each time. The whole cast are amazing, you would think this might be a difficult to pull off on stage but they manage it in the most spectacular way!
By far one of the best musicals in London. Have been it 4 times and I never get bored. Each time is a new feeling of excitement.
Possibly one of my favourite shows..... a truly amazing experience - a must see. I was brought the tickets as a present and am so glad.
Amazing performance, sound, colours. Really great experience!! I don't go to theatres that often, but this was well worth going. What a nice childhood nostalgia. If you liked the movie - definitely go and see the play.
As a production it is beautiful to look at and the set / costume designs are very impressive. However, my sister and I both felt a little underwhelmed by the performances, we never experienced that 'wow' moment. I thoroughly enjoyed Mufasa's rendition of He Lives in You, it was beautiful and emotionally stirring. I was so disappointed with Be Prepared, which I was anticipating would be the show stopping performance and it was the song I was looking forward to the most but it didn't meet my expectations.
The Lion King suffers from over-hype. It's certainly not the worst show we've seen, but we have seen better at a more affordable price.
Side note (spoiler alert): I felt the additional subplot of Scar wanting to marry Nala uncomfortable and unnecessary. Nala didn't really need to feel like she was banished from Pride Rock, they could've easily followed the film's plot by having her in the same area as Simba because hunting in the pride lands was scare, hence needing to hunt further afield and running into Simba. (end of spoiler)
If you can get a good deal on this I would recommend seeing it for the costumes and the sets, which are truly impressive, but I personally don't feel this is enough for a good show.
I know a lot of people adored this stage performance so perhaps you will too. My sister and I however, left feeling disappointed, underwhelmed and a little bored, which is a shame as I went in expecting to love this.
Personally, I would recommend seeing Aladdin instead (which I did love and found far more entertaining). However, this is only a matter of personal opinion and taste.
I don't think there is a single tube station in London that hasn't got at least one poster of the Lion King - with that in mind, if you live in London and commute (that's the same thing right?) you are bound to end up getting fed up and buying two just-out-of-your-range price tickets to check out what the hype is about.
The Lion King musical, based strongly on the original Disney version, is surely one to visually please everyone from young to old. With a very strong opening that will probably leave you weeping for your childhood, we see a whole array of incredibly creative costumes, fantastic singing voices, cheerful and energetic dancers with mind-bending flexibility and all the sights and sounds of a high budget Soho production. (Of course, this is the 'Circle of life'.)
From there on though, the show starts to deflate - I don't know what left me more disappointed: the weak voices of the child actors playing young Simba and Nala completely demolishing 'I just can't wait to be king', or the creep show that is Timon's presence (a weirdly non-meerkat like puppet and a man dressed in full body suit behind him). As the show moves into the second half, it completely loses traction, and if it wasn't for the - admittedly incredible - set design and costumes, there really wouldn't be much to see.
That said, this is a very enjoyable show, and once young Simba is replaced with eye candy and energetic actor Nick Afoa, everything falls back into place for enjoyment. The actors behind Zazu, Scar (he DOES sound like Jeremy Irons so much) and Rafiki clearly carry the comedic thread of the show, but they do it well enough to get you clapping at the end.
Overall though, the hype around the Lion King musical was perhaps once deserved, but maybe it's time for us to let it go and let it be the legend that it is (born in the same year as I was - coincidence? I think not).
Without a doubt the best theatre show I ever saw. I mean.. Where do I need to start? I don't have anything negative to say. Absolutely amazing, perfect for young and old. I've seen the show a few months back and I have been recommending it to everyone since then and I will keep doing. An absolute must-see!
It was an amazing show but....
I thought the one liners and the added extras were naff and not needed for that film, I wanted to transport myself to Africa then we had silly jokes about Brexit, singing songs , sorry spoilt it and not needed.
A fantastic show with lots of talent.
Cut out the silly one liners.
Definitely worth watching! The costumes, performers and singing were absolutely brilliant. Though some say this is probably targeted more towards children but i disagree as I think the whole show was very enjoyable!
Well I don't think that I am the demographic for this show. It's really more aimed towards a younger audience. Having said that the costumes were good, the singing excellent and the music upbeat and fun. However I honestly expected a lot more of the big numbers. There are 2 huge songs that came out of this film and I expected the audience to have been whipped up into a palpable frenzy by the first chorus but no, it just wasn't there. The energy was missing somehow. Fun, but left me puzzled and a bit disappointed at what was an opportunity missed.
One of my all time favorite West End productions, I cannot recommend this show enough, it really is a must-see! Such talented performers, the set, the costumes, the music, all of it blends so effortlessly together to create an unforgettable show!
I took my boyfriend to see this musical, because he really wanted to see it. At first I wasn't so sure, but I absolutely loved every single bit of it! It was fun, engaging, positive and emotional. I think I laughed and cried. It is one of my favourite cartoons when I was growing up and this was just an amazing performance. Well done! Highly recommend.
WOW, and yes indeed, it was the best musical performance (Lyceum London) what I have ever seen around the globe! I went for elven eleven times, just for this! Sometime I just booked a flight just to dive deeply in this fairytale and fantasy, Unfortunately the quality of performance has lost a little bit it's passion over the years. As know Africa very well for many years I also saw that Lions King has absolutely nothing to do with the reality, finally it's just a fairytale!
WOW oh WOW ... want a trip to Africa but can't afford the tickets? then yes this is the next best thing baby! the music is amazing!!! literally gives you goosebumps!! the whole ambience of this show is thrilling... some of the costumes were exciting but honestly its the music that delivers here! the actors were great and you come away feeling so much better about yourself for some reason lol ... would I go back? 50,000 times!!!!!!
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.
I'm lucky to have seen this performance several times from different views - and each and every time it was wonderful, breathtaking and spectacular. The cast do such a fantastic job of embodying the animals - and the songs are really fantastic. If you're able to - I would recommend getting seats in the stalls as oppose to the circle as there is a part of the performance you will really get to enjoy if you do (don't want to give too much away!)
The staging for the Lion King is definitely one of my favourites from all the London theatre performances, and despite having already seen the production a few times, I would definitely see it again. I would give it more stars if I could!
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!
Where and how do I start!? Lion King is down right, hands down the best show I have ever seen in the most beautiful Theatre in Covent Garden 'The Lyceum'. The Lion King is a truly spectacular show and I was fully immersed before the show had even started. The atmosphere is incredible and the detail is breathtaking. It was even better than I had expected after many years of anticipating. I am a huge Disney fan and I fail to say anything negative about the whole experience. It truly was seamless, beautiful and beyond impressive from the incredibly detailed costumes, the phenomenal props and remarkable orchestra. I came close to tears! The Lion King is honestly the most amazing experience in London.
Photo taken from the Grand Circle Row B 13-14
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.
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