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5 out 5 stars based on 1 review(s)
Latest Review: "Fantastic, wonderful, a spectacular show for all ages...."
Based upon the hugely successful 1994 Disney movie by the same name, 'The Lion King' tells the coming of age story of Simba, an adventurous lion born on Pride Rock. Using many of the same songs (composed by Elton John and Tim Rice) as the film and following an almost identical story line, fans of the multi-award winning animated feature will not be disappointed by the stage adaptation. Directed by Julie Taymor (whose film credits include 'Frida' and 'Across the Universe'), the show originally opened in Minnesota at the Orpheum Theatre in July of 1997 before moving to the New Amsterdam Theatre on Broadway later in the year. Such was the success of the production - it won six Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Director, and was nominated for five more - it quickly opened in countries all over the world, including Canada, Japan, Australia, Germany and South Korea. The London theatre production, headed again by Julie Taymor with Peter Schneider producing, opened in the West End at the Lyceum Theatre in October of 1999 and was an immediate success - shows continue to sell-out despite it having run for almost ten years.
'The Lion King' opens with the presentation of the lion cub Simba, son of King Mufasa and Queen Sarabi. Simba is the first born and heir to the throne of Pride Rock, and his arrival is greeted with much celebration by the gathered animals. Scar, the brother of Mufasa, is angry at the birth of a son and heir, as it relegates him back to second in the line of succession. As time passes and Simba grows into an adventurous young rascal, Mufasa begins to educate his son in the ways of managing his kingdom. Simba, however, is more interested in exploring the huge sprawl of land on all sides of Pride Rock with his best friend Nala. One morning while Mufasa is out dealing with a hyena invasion, Simba goes to talk to his Uncle Scar.
Scar, conspiring to get young Simba into trouble (and perhaps remove him from the line of succession), tells Simba of a mysterious elephant grave-yard which lies beyond the borders of the Pride Lands - forbidden territory for the young cub. Unable to resist, Simba and Nala journey to the graveyard, only to be trapped by hyenas and rescued at the last minute by an angry Mufasa. Seeing an opportunity, Scar pays the hyenas a visit and organizes with them to start a stampede the following day. Scar then takes his nephew for a walk into a deep gorge, leaving him there and signalling for the stampede to begin. Simba, in danger of being trampled to death, is rescued when Scar reports to Mufasa of the imminent disaster - Mufasa leaps into the stampede and saves his son, only to be trampled to death himself. Scar leads Simba to believe that the death of his father was his own fault and encourages Simba to leave the Pride Lands. Simba agrees and Scar triumphantly takes the throne as the new king.
A few years later, Simba has grown into a young adult lion and is accompanied in his lazy days of bug eating and games by his friends Timon and Poomba. Back in the Pride Lands, Scar's reign has resulted in a deadly drought and famine and Nala, Simba's childhood friend, is forced along with all the other lionesses to venture further into strange lands for food. Nala unwittingly stumbles upon Simba in the jungle and the two are joyously reunited. After a ghostly apparition of his father urges Simba to return to Pride Rock to claim the throne, Simba, Nala, Timon and Poomba journey back to the Pride Lands for what is set to be a dangerous confrontation. Caught in the middle of lecturing Simba's mother, Sarabi, Scar is shocked when he is rudely interrupted by the arrival of Simba. Playing his advantage, Scar forces Simba to confess to the watching animals that he was responsible for Mufasa's death, only for Scar to whisper gleefully to Simba that it was in fact his machinations that resulted in the demise of both Simba's father and Simba himself. In a burst of anger Simba fights Scar, forcing him to tell the truth to the other lions. In the final stages of the battle, Scar falls from the edge of Pride Rock into the waiting mass of hyenas below. Simba claims the throne, marries Nala, and the two eventually have their own cub and heir to the throne.
'The Lion King' musical is one of the most popular West End shows and it's not hard to understand why - it contains several of the memorable songs from the original movie, including 'Circle of Life', 'I Just Can't Wait to be King', 'Hakuna Matata' and 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight'.
Sun, 30th Sep 2012
Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 2.30pm
Tuesday to Saturday 7:30
2 hours 45 minutes