‘They live in you, they live in me, they’re watching over everything we see. In every creature, in every star, in your reflection, they live in you’ – The Lion King, the musical
‘The Lion King’ is one of the most important musicals in Broadway, London and probably the world. With productions in a lot of countries, this show is very successful because is not only for kids, adults will enjoy it also. This year, they celebrated 15 years in the Lyceum Theatre. I went to see the show last weekend, and now I understand everything. Is a musical easy to fall in love with, is beautiful and reminds you of your childhood. I would like to let the people know that is not only a show for tourists, people who live in London should go at least once to enjoy it.
I don’t see the point of making a long review of the show, 15 years later after the opening night. But, with this post, I want to express my feelings when I saw it. I was really excited; I was looking forward for this moment since I was a child. ‘The Lion King’ is one of my favorite movies of all times. When I was a kid, my brother, my sister, my mum and I used to see it many days. Any excuse was good. It’s been a good day? Let’s watch ‘The Lion King’! It’s been a bad day? Let’s watch ‘The Lion King’ again! So, watching the show was like reminding my childhood again and I felt very emotional.
There is a Spanish production, in Madrid. They opened in 2011 and I wish I could see it someday. But for now, I have enough watching the London cast. I love the story, I love that is inspired in ‘Hamlet’ by William Shakespeare, because is a book that I love also. The songs, composed by Elton John, are part of my childhood and I know all of them in Spanish. When I started to be interested in musicals, I listened to the Original Broadway Cast and I loved it. The voices, the way they perform the songs is just beautiful. And I had the same feeling watching it live.
The songs are performed in an amazing way. The rhythms remember Africa, not only some sentences in an unknown language, but the drums and the different sounds and voices. They are so powerful, with a lot of choirs singing loud. I had goosebumps in most of the songs, especially those sung in chorus. In the show, with the new songs, created exclusively for the musical adaptation, there are a lot of music styles. But they fit very well all together. In the first act there are the great themes like ‘Circle of Life’ and ‘Hakuna Matata’ or ‘Be Prepared’. But in the second act there are the great solos, like ‘Endless Night’ and ‘Shadowland’, sung by Simba and Nala.
One of my favourite songs in the show is ‘They Live In You’ (and, of course, ‘He Lives In You’). I got so emotional because it reminded me many things in my life, but especially my mother. In the show, this scene is so dramatic, full of passion and made me feel a lot of things. ‘The Lion King’ talks about many things, but one of them is death and memory of the beloved family members. It’s a very good way to talk about it to kids, through songs and the story of Simba. He decides to change and remember his father to fight for his kingdom.
What surprised to me the most is the fact that it’s not a huge production. I expected massive sets, but it was just the opposite. Sometimes you could see the whole stage empty, just the actors performing and dancing. Of course, there are big sets, like the stampede scene or the Pride Rock (it appears and disappears from the floor in a few seconds!) but in general the stage is quite empty. The actors give their best to focus all the attention on them. The scenes are created in a very beautiful way, sometimes playing with lights, shadows and puppets.
The best of ‘The Lion King’ are probably the customs and the masks. In ‘Circle of Life’ you can see all the animals going to venerate Simba. It’s one of the most beautiful scenes in the play, because all the actors on the stage, singing and dancing. They look like animals in Africa. The director Julie Taymor designed all this production, her job was amazing and she won the Tony Award for that. All the design is amazing, all the colours, the puppets, the masks… remember Africa. This makes ‘The Lion King’ absolutely unique respect other shows.
‘The Lion King’ is a musical made for kids and adults too. It’s a must see in London. It’s a combination of a good story, a Disney classic, and the best effects of musical theatre. The worst thing is the price. The tickets are very expensive and there aren’t discounts. I got a standing ticket, the cheapest one, but I wish I could have seen the show from the stalls. Unfortunately, I can’t afford that, but I don’t complain because at least I’ve seen it. So I recommend to watch ‘The Lion King’ at the Lyceum Theatre and remind your childhood and enjoy the performances and the songs.