Today was another awfully rainy day down in London, so I decided to explore some other people’s blogs a bit more. There’s some good stuff out there! Anyway, one blogger in particular caught my eye (‘Ow Am Yau?) talking about a musical I saw earlier this year. So I thought that as well as commenting and reblogging it I would add my own review of this particular show, which was quite different to the one mentioned above. Not to say either is wrong of course, I quite admire a review that isn’t afraid to go against the grain of opinion 😉
Anyway, eyes and ears back to my story (many thanks in advance dear readers). As mentioned in a review below (Viva Forever!)) a group of friends including myself have this pact to buy tickets to a show as a joint birthday present and this was another occasion. This particular show had been on the radar for a while and even though I’d seen it before I was more than happy to go again! Again based on a film by one of my childhood heroes (Sleeping Beauty) this is also one my all-time favourite films and I was lucky enough to see it first on Broadway about 10 years ago – definitely a highlight of any holiday I have ever been on for sure! Also I was happy to pitch in for a ticket for the birthday girl because this musical NEVER has a deal on for cheap tickets so you have to do it for a special occasion. So we though Hakuna Matata, we just couldn’t wait to see this musical and so ran along to The Lion King at the famous Lyceum Theatre. Perfectly located on The Strand just by Covent Garden, I personally can’t remember a time when this wasn’t the home to The Lion King, but then it has housed this magnificent production for 14 years.
What a production! What you will be completely blown away by here is the entire visual effect of the piece. I remember going to the V&A around the same time because they had an exhibit of some of the costumes in the production, so you could see them up close. Listening to Julie Taymor’s thinking behind these costumes, it was clear how much effort had gone into this endeavour by taking fabrics and influences from cultures all over Africa to combine them into what you see on stage. The detail was amazing, something you only appreciate as an overall picture when watching it live on stage and great to see up close and personal at the exhibit. But the brilliant thing here was how the costumes didn’t try to hide the performers from the audiences and wrap them in animal’s clothing. It was a clear fusion of both, so that you could see how the performer moves the costume to emulate each animal and that was the most creative thing of all for me.
This time we were higher up, but I remember first seeing it in the stalls and will never forget the time the animals walk through the audience in the opening number and seeing a 2-man elephant emerging through the crowd to come onto stage. It made me feel like a child again, seeing the Disney film for the first time! Myself and my backstage friend had another of our setgasms when seeing Pride Rock emerge from the stage, so good!!
I would love to pick negatives in this production and if I was being picky, I would say that I have seen children act on stage better and this brought some of the production down. The lead voices were good but nothing outstanding (like an Elphaba) but this musical doesn’t lend itself to that kind of diva-esque performance. All in all, when you come out of a musical feeling so visually blown away (none of those thoughts now!) all of the little hiccups were forgotten.
No, it wasn’t the film and it didn’t surpass it in my eyes. But what this musical did do was remind me of all the child-like glee that I felt when I first saw Disney’s version 20 years ago and that for that alone it deserves its place in musical history 🙂
Word of the day – anfractuous. Ooh nice! Side point, I’ve started to figure out the hyperlinks, so this story went a touch overboard with them 😉 expect more bells and whistles to each post as I find more exciting things to do.