THE LION KING

THE LION KING MUSICAL REVIEW

I was back in my happy place last night for the highly anticipated, Disney’s multi award-winning musical. I was at the opulent Edinburgh Playhouse for the unique and unforgettable theatrical extravaganza that is The Lion King.

Since the musical first opened on Broadway back in 1997, The Lion King musical has been seen by over 110 million people worldwide, it has received 6 Tony Awards and is Broadway’s highest grossing production of all time.

CIRCLE OF LIFE

The story of The Lion King is so famous it needs no reiterating. We, the audience, are taken on the emotional rollercoaster from love and wonder to fear and heartbreak.

The opening scene sent shivers down my back, gave me goosebumps, and had me stifling sobs as the familiar vocal chant

(“Nants ingonyama bagithi baba. Ingonyama nengw' enamabala”) led a chorus of Prideland animals filing down the auditorium aisles and onto the stage.

The ever-changing set from the Pridelands and the vast expanses of the African savanna to the dark depths of the Elephant Graveyard was very impressive, and the beautiful costume design was an explosion of rich textures and colour. A true work of art.

One of my highlights of the show was the stunningly strong vocals and truly authentic performance from Thandazile Soni as Rafiki. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her every time she graced the stage. Special mention to Matthew Forbes who captured the essence of Zazu perfectly through his great acting and master puppetry.

I’ll be honest with you, I lost count of the number of times I got goosebumps. But I still remember why I got them. The large ensemble numbers were stunning throughout the show, the scenes were at their most powerful and emotive when the ensemble performed and sang the beautiful harmonies and chants together. These performances lifted the show way above the heights of the film through the beauty of African dance and while the powerful drums perched in the balconies beat out the rhythms across the auditorium bringing the Serengeti to life in Edinburgh.

Through their energy, skill, passion, and their costumes, the cast and ensemble will take you into a world of fantasy and beauty of pure theatrical magic!

Special thanks to Erin McClelland at Edinburgh Playhouse for the warm welcome and hospitality.

Images property of The Lion King Musical.

The Lion King is at Edinburgh Playhouse until 2nd July 2022. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

Reviewed by Radio Saltire’s Jenna Cockburn 8th June 2022.