Tuesday, October 13

The Lion King Click for more info

The Lion King is a definitive Disney classic. Packed with originality, story, colour song and dance, it's exactly what makes a Disney film a Disney film. It's also what makes it ripe for theatre adaptation, and it was with high expectations that I went to see the live show this evening.

In terms of spirit, they seemed to have pulled it off. Using a combination of acting and puppetry, much like Avenue Q in fact, they portrayed both the animal and human qualities which the Disney characters had in spades. The story was also still there, if a bit extended to fill the time a theatre production needs to. Quite fittingly there was more cultural dance and singing than there would be in other productions of this type, and at times it felt like a bit of a variety show (think Afrika! Afrika!) if not of that particular quality.

The stage was a mixed bag - not in terms of entertainment and imagery, but more in how simple and sparse, yet clever it was. There was no set per se, with most backgrounds either simply hanging from the ceiling or smartly being represented by more actors. The more dramatic times were implemented with an almost magically morphing stage that seemed to have hundreds of sliding floors, hidden panels and structures popping out of the ground. I was quite impressed by the technical achievement.

Overall though I felt that something was missing. Perhaps it's because I'm used to the cartoon but I didn't find the human-animals as likeable as their animated counterparts, and neither did I find myself becoming endeared to the dancing and even, shockingly, the songs. If I'm being honest I'm not quite sure the singing and music were of a high enough standard for any production let alone The Lion King.

But as a technical achievement, what with the puppetry and transforming stage, I liked The Lion King. It didn't quite hit the spot like the cartoon did, but certainly wasn't a bad thing to see on stage. Ultimately though, I do go to the theatre for magic and awesomeness, and in those terms The Lion King was kinda lacking, especially when faced with the myriad of choices London offers.


  1. I also thought that the songs from the movies were not rousing enough nor long enough.

  2. To be fair I do think part of the blame goes to where we were sitting (in the heavens), but even then it was almost like a whole track was missing from the music.

  3. Anonymous15:02