Theatre Review: The Lion King Musical
The Lion King' Returns To Madrid For Its 10th Anniversary This Year
Photo By Alejandro Martinez Velez/Europa Press via Getty Images

Theatre Review: The Lion King Musical

Jasmyne Jeffery July 20, 2022

A masterclass in puppetry and all of your favourite songs and more. The Lion King musical is an absolute must-see.

The Lion King film came out five years before I was born, but it was a staple of my childhood. My sisters are fourteen years younger than me and it’s a film they adore as well. What I’m trying to say, is that it’s a timeless classic.

The musical has been around for almost as long as the film, and I’d always heard amazing things about it. Yet, I took it with a pinch of salt. We all remember the (loosely named) live-action The Lion King that came out a few years ago, and I really wasn’t a fan. It didn’t have the charm or emotion that the original had, so I lost a bit of faith in any kind of remake.

Photo by Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

An Opportunity I Couldn’t Refuse

For the next six weeks, The Lion King Musical is at the Wales Millenium Centre, where I’m lucky enough to volunteer. Disney very kindly allowed some of the staff to watch the dress rehearsal, and that wasn’t an opportunity I could miss out on.

In an auditorium built for 1800 people with only 100 honoured guests, it really felt like I was sitting in a Disney magic hotspot.

As soon as the famous first note was sung and my eyes started to water, I didn’t realise how much I needed to see the musical.

A Spectacle To Remember

I knew I would love the music from the film, and of course, I adored the story, but it was the visual spectacle of The Lion King that took my breath away. The first number, The Circle of Life saw dozens of cast members make their way through the audience onto the stage in breathtaking animal costumes. There were antelope, zebras and a life-size elephant. I knew there were costumes, but this really was something else.

Throughout the performances, the puppets were used in increasingly clever ways with a skill I can’t even fathom. The hyenas, in particular, are a real treat.

Better than the film?

Undoubtedly, it is leaps and bounds better than the ‘live-action’ The Lion King. Is it better than the original? Very possibly. The visual aspect of the musical just doesn’t compare to the film, and I loved the additional musical numbers that the musical has. Nala’s solo, Shadowland, incorporates the musical score of the film but gives her character more weight. As you can tell, I have a deep love for the film but I genuinely think the musical tops it.

Th Lion King is currently touring the Uk and Ireland with long stints at each location. Grab your tickets here.

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Jasmyne Jeffery is a full-time Entertainment and News Writer on university-themed website Freshered and HITC, and joined the company having previously worked in a freelance role. She attended the University of South Wales where she was also a student blogger and graduated in 2022 with a first-class honours degree in English and Creative Writing. Now, she puts her creativity to use reviewing university bars, Love Island episodes and the latest apps any 18-25-year-old is using.