REVIEW: The Lion King "must be seen"
| By Jade Ali
Multi-award winning. Loved worldwide. Running at London's Lyceum Theatre for 18 years. This is the packaging that The Lion King musical is presented in, but it is so much more than that. The majority of people in London have seen this musical at least once, many go back for more, and after having experienced it myself for the first time; I finally see why. I feel a part of something.
Hans Zimmer is a legend when it comes to musical scores and The Lion King is one of the reasons why. Live orchestra, boxes taken over by drums, the music surrounds you and fills you. You're tingling with goosebumps before a scene begins, mumbling along with the words to the famous songs we all love and being lifted out of your seat by the incredible symphonies that fill the theatre. I suppose that's to be expected when you hear live music from Elton John.
What is more breath-taking than the music though, if that's even possible, is the visuals. As beautiful as the costumes are, bright and creative, it's the stage that steals the show. The masks and puppets, the mechanicals and the stage lighting. All of these components create the magic that you see before your eyes. Every detail is impeccable, the hair and makeup having to do a lot of the work of the transition from screen to stage. Beforehand you can't imagine how they're going to make the jump or how it will play out. But once it starts you completely forget, getting lost in the colours, the choreography and the emotion (that is until Zazu breaks the fourth wall).
All the creativity and immense hard work that creates the stage and environment, that can often be taken for granted, would be empty without a brilliant cast. Men, women and children, actors, singers and dancers alike, take over, animating puppets, bringing the music alive with their voices and moving thousands of people every night. The sheer colour and complexity of the first scene moved me to tears but it was the emotive stampede scene that had me trying to muffle my sobs. The combination of the music and the acting of a child moved me more deeply than I could have ever imagined.
It goes without saying that every person needs to experience The Lion King live on stage at least once in their lifetime but if I have to reiterate that again and again then I will. It really is one of those things that exceeds all hype and must be seen.