The Lion King

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The Lion King

The Lion King

Posted: 30 Oct 2014

Sunderland Empire

24 October

 

The old stage adage of never working with children or animals is totally ignored in this spectacular staging of The Lion King – even if this tale of lion cubs has neither real animals nor children.

The show has been packing them in. I attended a performance at the end of the fifth of seven weeks and there wasn’t a spare seat to be had, with even the often closed-off fourth tier Gallery in use.

The show begins with a vast collection of ‘animals’ including a huge elephant making their way through the auditorium and onto the stage. It’s a stunning start that gets The Lion King off to a fabulous start.

For two and a half hours Sunderland becomes the Serengeti as the kids in the audience – the real ones and the grown-up ones – are transported into the world of Simba the cub and his journey to become the Lion King, overcoming the baddie of the piece Uncle Scar along the way.

The pace never lets up. There’s a familiar score including show-stoppers Hakuna-Matada, The Circle of Life and Can You Feel the Love Tonight? and there’s also plenty of humour supplied by a comic combination of warthog and meerkat and a constantly moving set that is as much a star of the evening as the soundtrack.

The audience lapped it up. It’s a show that doesn’t need a star name to make it work. The songs, costumes, set, choreography and Hamlet-esque plot all make this a hugely entertaining spectacle which is why it has packed out the biggest theatre in the North East night after night for weeks on end.

Rob Mason

            

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