The musical at The Lyceum Theatre. Written by Elton John and Tim Rice. Directed by Julie Taymor. Starring Brown Lindiwe Mkhize, Ako Mitchell, Nikki Renee Hechavarria, Eric Mallett, James Simmons, Nick Mercer, Howard Crossley, Brian Makiwane & Alexia Khadime
This was a fantastic show and I was blown away by its quality. Even my husband enjoyed it! We went on new year’s eve and the audience was a bit rowdy, which was annoying in places. And my kids saved me the job of turning round and glaring at the boy behind us who kept singing through the songs!
I’ve seen a couple of musicals on tour, but this is the only one I’ve seen in London, so I haven’t got a lot to compare it to; but my advice, if you’re only going to see one with the family; see this the one! Scene after scene was packed with intertaining dialogue and amazing effects. Not to mention the songs that sent shivers up your spine.
The animals are done with a mixture of people in animal costumes with masks; people holding puppets and some shadow puppets. Although some time was spent marvelling at how clever some of these systems worked, I was quickly drawn into the story and forgot about that side of things, so I could fully enjoy the show. Much of it is far too difficult to describe; you’ll just have to go and see for yourself. I was most impressed with the scene with the stampede which was very effective.
The theatre itself was beautiful. We sat at the front stalls, with aisle seats, which was great as the cast came past us several times. However, the slope of the seats was not really steep enough and there was some head-dodging. Take thick coats to roll up for kids to sit on or they won’t be able to see clearly.
The acting, singing and dancing (though more choreographed movement) were all flawless. I was very impressed with the actors who were playing young Simba and young Nala. It was difficult to match the picture in the program to the people on the stage, but on the afternoon we went, from the list of several children, I think Simba was played by Mitchell Zhangazha and Nala was Parhys-Jai Cato. My apologies if I’ve got it wrong, but anyway, they were better than any child actors I’ve seen on television lately, and they couldn’t half sing!
Go and see it!!