The Lion King
Posted: 30 Oct 2014
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.