London is a fantastic place to visit; there is a vast wealth of activities to do and sights to see. This degree of choice can, however, make it difficult to work out how exactly to spend your time in the city. This can be made even trickier if you are travelling as a family, as inevitably everybody will want to do different things. One way to keep the whole family happy and to enjoy a really memorable night’s entertainment is to purchase Lion King tickets.
An area that often gets overlooked by many families is evening activities. It is understandable that after a busy day spent walking around London many tourists may just want to get back to their hotel and get to sleep, before doing it all again the next day. This means that the most that many families do in the evening is go for meal; which is a shame as London has a really amazing nightlife and one that includes activities that cater for younger family members.
Examples of these kinds of attractions can be found in London’s West End, where there are numerous musicals and shows that are suitable for the whole family. The West End is one of the most popular areas of the city. It is the heart of the UK’s entertainment industry and home to innumerable theatres, cinemas, restaurants and hotels.
Although it is not a defined area in terms of a district, the West End is usually taken to mean the area around Leicester Square and Covent Garden extending towards Oxford and Regent Streets. Initially, the area was favoured by the rich as it was upwind of the smoky, crowded city. The West End as we know it today was developed from the 17th century onwards.
The Lyceum Theatre, which hosts the Lion King musical, is situated right in the heart of this famous area, within walking distance of Covent Garden. In addition to the Lion King, this historic venue has been home to a number of famous musicals including Oklahoma! and Jesus Christ Superstar and is known to be one of the best venues for large-scale musical or opera productions.
Everyone knows the Lion King. The iconic Disney film not only has an unforgettable storyline but also one the most memorable soundtracks of all time. In addition to the original music by Elton John and Tim Rice, the musical has a score created by Hans Zimmer with choral arrangements by Lebo M.
The Lion King is quite simply a spectacular visual feast. Winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical, as in the film the story focuses on the journey of lion cub Simba, born to king of the animals Mufasa and his Queen Sarabi. Things in the Pride Lands quickly take a turn for the worse however as Mufasa’s younger brother Scar, who wants the throne for himself, eventually kills Mufasa and succeeds in tricking Simba to leave the pride. It is during his self-imposed banishment that Simba meets the much-loved characters Timon and Pumbaa, a meerkat and warthog who teach him the ways of a no worries lifestyle.
There are some slight differences between the musical version of the story and the film that we all remember. A key element that has changed as the story has been adapted from silver screen is the gender of Rafiki. If you are familiar with the Lion King then you will remember that Rafiki is the very old and wise mandrill-baboon hybrid who lives in a baobab tree. It is Rafiki who presents new-born Simba to the animals in the film’s classic opening scene. In the stage version of the story, the role of Rafiki is played by a woman.
This change was due to director Julie Taymor’s observation that there was no leading female character in the film. It has been a successful adaptation, in that the original actress to play Rafiki in the US version of the show, Tsidii Le Loka, received wide acclaim for her portrayal, as did Josette Bushell-Mingo, who played the character in the West End version.
There are also a number of key plot differences between the film and the musical. For example, a major addition is a scene in which Nala, Simba’s best friend, leaves the Pride Lands to find help after Scar attempts to make her his mate. This is explained in a song, not featured in the film, called Shadowland in which Nala receives the blessings of Rafiki and the other lionesses.
There are generally many more songs in the stage version of the story than there were in the film. Of course, all the old classics are still there, including Circle of Life, Hakuna Matata and Can You Feel the Love Tonight. The stage production, however, also features new songs such as, Morning Report, sung by Zazu, the hornbill who acts as majordomo to Mufasa, and Endless Night, which is sung by Simba. These new songs promise to be future classics.
Another feature which the stage production has become famous for is its amazing costumes. Many of the characters are portrayed by actors in complex costumes. For example, the lions are represented by large headdresses which can be lowered mechanically to cover an actor’s face. More intricate costumes include the giraffes which are actors walking on sets of stilts. Other animals are created through the use of clever life-sized puppets; these include the rhinoceroses and of course Timon and Pumbaa.
The dancing, costumes, puppets, storyline and music are guaranteed to keep all the family entertained and this is one of the reasons why the Lion King has been so successful.
The show runs for two hours and 40 minutes with a 15 minute interval and is suitable for children over the age of five. It is important to remember that there is some strobe lighting used in the production and that children under the age of three will not be admitted into the theatre.