It’s no secret that i’m in love with both Disney and Theatre… so when the two are combined, i’m practically in heaven.
For years I have been keen to see on of the most iconic Disney films on stage, but I just hadn’t got myself there until now… so here’s my first experience of joining the circle of life at The Lion King on the West End!
Well firstly, due to the fact (like most of the world) i’ve seen the film multiple times and known about the show for many years, it meant I knew loosely what to expect. However, I still don’t think I was fully prepared for what I was about to witness!
Naturally the iconic opening scene of “Circle Of Life” gave me chills all over – I was in awe of the stunning visuals, and touched at hearing arguably one of the most well-known Disney tracks for myself. I think my years of waiting to see the show, hit me all at once in that moment!
Then on with the show it was, which was very true to the film; there were only minor details that had been adapted. The most noticeable change being having the character of Rafiki as a female, however this is great because it opened up an additional female role to the show which I think is wonderful, as that is one drawback in the original film (which only has three notable female characters).
Naturally, there are also several additional songs but the iconic numbers like Can You Feel The Love Tonight, Hakuna Matata, I Just Can’t Wait to Be King and Be Prepared remain, as well as the show favourites like They Live In You. The score is beautiful; and is showcased so artistically, and mixes from modern to it’s regional origin.
The set and costume are almost impossible to describe because you really don’t know how good it is until you witness it for yourself; from dancing grass, to a rotating stage that builds-up to Pride Rock, to a stampede chase, exciting colours, puppets, flying birds and more! I knew it would be brilliant from everything I’d heard and seen, but it doesn’t prepare you for how great it is in reality.
While it is slightly difficult to note the cast, due to visualising them as animals rather than people! They were great – personally, I felt George Asprey’s portrayal of Scar was lacking a little bit of fierceness, however maybe it’s simply because I’m so used to the film and broadway soundtrack, and Scar may be one of my favourite villains so I probably unknowingly set high expectations, but despite that personal point, he still gave a great and villainous performance! I loved the whole cast, and I thought they all did a great job at bringing some of my favourite characters to life (especially Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki and Zazu).
Overall, I’m so pleased to have finally seen this iconic show, especially as it was the last on my “west end bucket list” of iconic must-see shows. Plus it means I am now able to join in the discussion about it and understand why it’s so popular!
There’s no denying it’s visually stunning, with a beautiful score to guide you through, and it’s something that anyone can enjoy! It’s the perfect family show, which is proven by the fact it’s stood the test of time and is notably the most iconic Disney musical. (Plus I may have shed some tears of both emotion, excitement and awe!). ★★★★