The Lion King

The Lion King musical review

Photo: Kalel2007 at en.wikipedia

Shown in The Lyceum Theatre since it opened in 1999, the musical adaptation of the much-loved Disney classic, The Lion King, has been one of the most successful musicals that the West End has seen in recent years.  Set against the spectacular backdrop of the Serengeti Plains to the stunning rhythmic sounds of Africa featuring the songs we have grown to love by Elton John and Tim Rice, The Lion King tells the story of a young cub made an outcast by his uncle, and his subsequent journey to fulfil his destiny as king.

Loved by children and adults alike, The Lion King will redefine your expectations of musical theatre, and with scenery and costumes that are second to none along with a score that will make you laugh and cry, you will be telling everyone you know about how incredible The Lion King musical is.

Tickets for The Lion King tickets start at £35 for Grand Circle seats. See Lion King tickets for seat recommendations and booking.

Cast Information

The Lion King cast includes Jonathan Andrew Hume in his West End debut playing the adult Simba, along with Ava Brennan as Nala. George Asprey plays the character we all love to hate, Scar, whilst Damian Baldet and Keith Bookman come to life as the loveable and fun duo of Timon and Pumbaa, respectively.

Show Length and Times

The Lion King evening performances begin at 7.30pm with Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2pm, and Sunday matinees at 3pm. The musical does not show performances on Sundays. The show lasts for approximately 3 hours with an interval of about 15 minutes, and the theatre will open around 45 minutes before each performance.

Critics Reviews

“Watching the show alongside my rapt children, I was struck by how much it succeeds in speaking to the heart rather than the head. The Lion King‘s broad brushstrokes deliver nothing less than a sweeping panorama of a continent in dignified motion and a deeply felt celebration of life.”
Dominic Cavendish at the Daily Telegraph
“My jaw hit my knees… Is The Lion King as good as they say it is? – Dammit Yes!”
Robert Gore-Langton at the Daily Express
“This is a wonderful, wonderful musical: thrilling, warm-hearted, inventive and original. The Lion King will touch a deep chord in everybody.”
John Peter, Sunday Times

The Lion King Review

Stunning costumes and set designs as well as a strong musical score make this classic family tale stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Review by Alice Bzowska, 16/12/2010 at the Lyceum Theatre

From the moment the curtain opened up to the African savannah with the chorus singing the classic song ‘The Circle of Life’ against the backdrop of a warm, glowing sunrise, I knew that I was going to enjoy seeing Disney’s The Lion King musical. Having been showing to packed audiences at London’s Lyceum Theatre since 1999, the musical has seen soaring success, having broken its own box office record in 2010, with nearly one million people coming to see the show last year alone.

Based on the 1994 Disney cartoon of the same name, The Lion King tells the tale of a young lion cub called Simba who is made to believe that he is responsible for his father’s death by his uncle, Scar. Simba is forced to be an outcast and has to overcome a personal and physical journey to fulfil his destiny as the rightful king of his pride land. Families as well as groups adults made up the audience, eager to see how the beloved film would translate into a theatrical stage production, and to me, it was better than the film.

Set against the Serengeti plains with spectacular backdrops of lush, green jungle, dry savannah and elephant graveyards, the show is very aesthetically pleasing, and is accompanied by stunning costumes, bringing to life the abundant wildlife in sub-Saharan Africa. Rhino, elephant, giraffe, leopard, zebra and of course, lion costumes have been beautifully created, and the movements and characteristics of these animals are realistically conveyed by the actors.

One of the highlights of the show was how brilliant some of the actors were, and how alike they were to the actors in the movie. Stephen Matthews who plays Zazu the bird, ‘babysitter’ to Simba and assistant to Mufasa, Simba’s father, has a strong likeness for Rowan Atkinson who voiced the character in the film. Matthews portrayed Zazu’s nagging and protective demeanour well, and was both comical and convincing. Brown Lindiwe Mkhize played the part of knowledgeable baboon, Rafiki, and was hilarious as well as brilliant, with strong, emotional vocals on songs such as ‘The Circle of Life’ and ‘Rafiki Mourns’. Nick Mercer and Keith Bookman stole the comedy side of the show in many ways, playing meerkat Timon and warthog Pumbaa respectively. They bring fun and entertainment at the point of the show where it is needed, and as with Stephen Matthews, bear a strong likeness to the vocal actors in the film version.

Other main characters include Shaun Escoffery as empowering and majestic Mufasa and George Asprey as evil Uncle Scar, who I thought were both perfectly cast. Adult Simba is played by Andile Gumbi with adult Nala performed by Narran Mclean. Both actors gave brilliant and convincing performances, and they had strong, powerful vocals during their solo numbers.

The music is what makes this show stand out from others. The songs we all know and love, written by Elton John and Tim Rice, are accompanied by a score of African rhythms and beautiful melodies, composed by Academy Award winner Hans Zimmer and South African composer Lebo M. ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’ and ‘I Just Can’t Wait To Be King’ are classics, but highlights for me are the musical additions to the story, ‘Shadowland’, sung by Nala, and ‘Endless Night’, emotionally performed by Simba.

If you haven’t taken the kids, or even yourself to see The Lion King musical yet, then I suggest that you do, as the rhythmic music and heart-warming story will transport you to Africa for three hours, and you won’t want to come back to reality!


Highlights of The Lion King:

How the production went from the screen to the stage:

  • sandra magwaza
    #1 written by sandra magwaza  6 years ago

    lion king is a phenominal musical and every performer dreams of being part of this spectacular production. I’ve attended 4 lion king auditions and i havent had luck. I sometimes have dreams that im actually part of the cast, i would wake up and cry after realizing that it was just a dream,i know this may sound absurd but its true. I pray almost every day to God to grant my wish of being part of this amazing musical…………and I know that He will………someday.
    The performers are blessed to be part of this and they shouldnt take this wonderful opportunity for granted…..

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