Sunday, 6 September 2015

The Lion King Musical

I went to see The Lion King musical this weekend at the Regent Theatre here in Melbourne. While I do enjoy the occasional musical, I don't generally go to many theatre productions (mostly due to costs), so this was a great experience for me.
I have actually seen The Lion King on stage before, but that was about 10 or 11 years ago and I was too young to remember much detail. Seeing it again now was like a nostalgia-filled journey back to my days of falling in love with the movie and watching it over and over and over again.
Please note, photos in this blog are NOT MINE as we were not allowed to take any photo or video footage during the musical. I had to go find some photos online just to share the sheer scale of it and the magnificent costuming. Please do click on them to zoom in -you can hardly get any of the detail from the thumbnails! Honestly I don't know how the giraffes learn to walk on all those stilts, never mind the elephant which, among other animals, walks down the aisle through the crowd during the opening song of the show.
In addition, I didn't pick up a brochure so I don't know any of the cast's names, sorry about that!

I'm in love with the costumes and staging of the production -even though I wasn't close enough to see all the detail nor the makeup, it still left an impression. Favourite costume of the night goes to the cheetah (or was it a leopard?); I can't even guess the amount of training and practicing that actor must have gone through to perfect the movement. After the show I just had to look up how the actor controlled the face of the cheetah puppet, as I wasn't close enough to see the strings (see above photo).

While there were a lot of positives about the show, unfortunately I found the actors of Mufasa and Scar lacked something. While I didn't expect a James Earl Jones or Jeremy Irons, I still found that Mufasa wasn't able to engage me with his singing, and Scar's "Be Prepared" -one of my favourite songs from the movie- was somewhat lacking as well.

On the other hand, the child actor for Simba was great! Though for my favourite characters of the night, I'd have to go with Rafiki, Zazu and Timon. Rafiki was an incredible singer -she opened the entire musical with the powerful introduction to The Circle of Life, but also had many parts through the show, including some parts not directly from the movie. Zazu's actor had to juggle controlling puppet-Zazu, speaking, singing and acting with a lot of movement and comedy, yet he pulled off the role perfectly! It was a close call between Timon and Zazu as which character received the most laughs from the audience.
My personal favourite joke of the night was the scene when Zazu had been caged up by Scar. When requested to sing something "with a little more bounce in it," rather than 'Coconuts' Zazu broke out into the chorus of 'Let It Go'!

Though I generally love the Timon/Pumba dynamic, I feel like Timon really outshone Pumba in this version. I'm not sure whether it was the acting, the singing, or just Timon being all round excellent.

And finally, overall the show was fantastic and I'd highly recommend it to any Lion King or musical fans young and old! All the classic movie songs as well as some new additions and a 15 minute interval bring the show to almost 3 whole hours of fun.

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