MUSIC OWL AWARD: 5th – for family occasions
When I went: Summer 2007
Location: Lyceum Theatre, London
Performers: Brian Temba (Simba), Lloyd Notice (Mufasa), James Simmons (Scar), Nick Mercer (Timon), Keith Bookman (Pumbaa), Brown Lindiwe Mkhize (Rafiki), Eric Mallett (Zazu), Alexia Khadime (Nala)
Creative team: Elton John (music), Tim Rice (lyrics), Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi (book based on Disney animated film), Julie Taymor (director and additional lyrics), Garth Fagan (choreographer), additional music and lyrics by others including Hans Zimmer
Approximate price: £30
Special points: Animal interaction with audience
Best bit: Circle of Life
If I could change one thing: Better actor as young Simba
The Lion King, based on Hamlet, was a successful 1994 Disney film starring Jeremy Irons as Scar and Whoopi Goldberg as one of the hyenas.The stage show has become one of the best-loved and most long-running shows both in Broadway and the West End, and Elton John’s score has plenty of high points including Circle of Life, I Just Can’t Wait To Be King, Hakuna Matata and Be Prepared.
This is one of the best shows for families and young children, with animals running into the audience and plenty of heartwarming moments.
Alexia Khadime sang beautifully as Nala (I later saw her sing even better as Nabalungi in The Book of Mormon. Brown Lindiwe Mkhize was also especially powerful as Rafiki. The only weak link was the actor playing young Simba, whose voice wasn’t as strong as his impressive gymnastics.
I really enjoyed the parts where the animals ran throughout the audience and the Lyceum, having hosted this show for many years, is certainly well-tailored to every scene change and bit of blocking.