The Lion King comes to Edinburgh

Edinburgh Playhouse theatre was crammed fir to burst on Saturday afternoon for the matinee show for “The Lion King”.

More than 40 actors, singers and dancers,  told the story of THE LION KING using masks, puppets and unique colourful costumes.

The story of young Simba’s epic adventures as he struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and becoming king had the audience’s attention right from the start as the cast  burst through the theatre with a parade including a life-sized dancing elephant (cast in costume).

I did appreciate the creative craftsmanship  of the team of designers who draw on diverse cultural influences to recreate the rich colours and vast expanses of the African savanna in this daring and inspiring reinvention of one of the most successful animated films of all time.

Personally I found some of the costumes just a tad too weird and wacky and I felt that they were aimed more at a sophisticated adult audience than your average child. In my humble opinion the youngsters in the audience (and even some adults like myself). If the script and music had been spell-binding enough an animal onesie and some face paint would have done the job just as well. For me, the music was not memorable.

Directed and designed by Tony Award winner Julie Taymor, THE LION KING has won world acclaim and I could end up in a pot of boiling rainwater surrounded by cannibals, but for me, this musical aroused no emotions other than a crack in my neck as I struggled to find a vantage point that would allow me to enjoy the sensation that the cast were animals. Why the heads on stick or sitting above the cast’s own heads? All a bit too bizaare .

I loved the performance in that the cast were talented energetic and really put their heart and soul into. I just felt that Tim Rice had lost touch with childhood. The Lion King is very simple tale and one that has been performed under various guises, but the stage show was way too formal and pretentious.

I’m not sure Walt would have approved. Not unless he fancied seeing Mickey shaking his head on a stick between his legs…

Strong performances  some of the key roles. –

Scar – I loved!  What a fantastic Richard Burtony voice! Like warm chocolate dripping onto bare skin.

The cub Simba was cute but not a strong vocal. Only a wee boy though so good on him.

 Zazu  was so well controlled by the natty guy in the blue suit. Really appreciated the Scottish twist just for Edinburgh.

Mazel – Strong vocal, great charisma. Fabulous.

Timon and Pumbaa I just wanted to take home as pets.

Rafiki was totally brilliant. Strong vocals, excellent timing, especially with punchy one-liners that had me laughing.

Really took offence at the dis-jointed leopard. What a get-up. The cast member working the mechanical contraption did so with skill and commitment, but it was just grotesque.

About cathiedevitt

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