The Lion King
West End Production
Lyceum Theatre, London
Tuesday 5th February 2013
14 years in the West End's Lyceum Theatre and still going strong, The Lion King is popular with both home grown audiences and tourists alike, which has helped Disney maintain such longevity in their dominance of one of the most visible theatrical locations in theatreland.
This was my sixth visit to The Lion King and the Disney magic is as alive as ever. The adaptation from animated film to live action version is ingeniously designed and executed, maintaining all of the charm and beauty of the original movie but adding layers of detail that could only exist in a live action version. The book is taken almost word for word from the film scripts, and all of the familiar musical numbers are given respectful treatment to please even the most ardent fan of the original. The addition of the haunting African melodies and chants create an atmosphere of authenticity to the savannah setting, and the puppeteering - everything from African-style shadow puppets, through retractable masks, to full body puppet suits - aside from any of the Disney "packaging", is utterly captivating theatre in it's own right. The opening number of this show is still, in my opinion, one of the most breathtaking pieces of theatre on offer in the West End.
If you are yet to see The Lion King on stage, it is on tour around the UK at the moment, and remains among the best selling shows in the West End, taking bookings up to 8 months ahead.