As a huge fan of Disney’s The Lion King movie, I’ve always found myself wondering if the musical could ever live up to this childhood favourite – a concern that’s stopped me heading to the West End to see this seemingly popular stage-adaptation of a Disney classic for a long time.
The award-winning musical has been on the London stage for 15 years now with the Lyceum Theatre seeing its 12 millionth visitor through its doors earlier this year. These impressive figures got me thinking… maybe I should go and see it after all.
Luckily for me the opportunity came up this week, and in a now or never fashion I accepted the tickets to see The Lion King Musical. Curious and – if I’m honest – a little bit scared that this adored Disney film would be ruined in the next two and half hours, I settled down to see what all the fuss was about.
From the moment the curtains lifted I was hooked. Yes, I knew the story inside out, but that didn’t overshadow the spectacular display I saw before me. Combining fanciful puppetry and a beautiful mise-en-scéne with outstanding performances and of course, the film’s iconic and unforgettable soundtrack made for a more than enjoyable evening.
I was pleased the core storyline of the film was not interfered with, and equally as pleased the stage adaptation held its own when it came to amazing costumes and incredible set designs. I sat feeling nostalgic for the beloved 1994 animated classic, whilst still embracing all the glory of this live London musical version. And I wasn’t alone. The packed theatre seemed to share my view as they clapped and cheered their way through the show, laughing at classic lines taken right from the film (with a few added extras too).
Although I thoroughly enjoyed my evening at the Lyceum seeing this deserving West End hit, I can’t help but ask myself “Is The Lion King musical better than the film?”. Maybe this is an unfair comparison, but one I’m sure has been made by the 70 million people worldwide who’ve seen it too. My answer? Nothing will surpass the Disney film (in my opinion), but I did love from start to finish the energetic and enthusiastic display of world-class puppetry, outstanding performances and amazing sets I saw on stage that night. On top of all this, I came out wanting to watch the film again and that people, can’t be a bad thing at all.
So, if like me, you’re a little dubious about going to see The Lion King Musical for fear of tarnishing the classic Disney movie, I have one thing only to say to you… Hakuna Matata!
Have you seen Disney’s The Lion King Musical at the West End? Let us know using the comments box below.