Edinburgh theatre review: Lion King's vibrant performance is Pride of the Playhouse

The Disney musical prowled into Edinburgh this week

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 6:37 pm
The show was colourful, energetic and intricate, making audiences feel that they were also at Pride Rock
The show was colourful, energetic and intricate, making audiences feel that they were also at Pride Rock

The Lion King is the most hotly anticipated show coming to theatres in Edinburgh this year, having delighted audiences for over two decades the story of Simba’s journey to become king is a timeless tale of courage, love, friendship and family with a lot to live up to.

There is often a fear that shows which hail from the West End may not quite be as good in a different setting - but it is not the case for this production.

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A cast of more than 50 bring Disney's The Lion King to Edinburgh this week

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The way the ensemble of animals move is particularly impressive, each delicate move perfectly portraying big cats, rhinos and elephants, it is hard to believe the actors are not themselves animals. Their meticulously designed and finely detailed costumes are a wonder despite audiences not being able to appreciate their beauty up close.

While each and every cast member is characterised spectacularly, Jean-Luc Guizonne’s powerful depiction of Mufasa and Thandazile Soni’s vibrant Rafiki portrayals deserve special mentions.

Matthew Forbe’s loveable Zazu brings the 1994 musical into the present day, with unexpected references from Disney’s blockbuster Frozen, and mentions of Central Belt rivalry with Glasgow making audiences laugh out loud.

Top songs of the night were the classic Circle of Life, the energetic performance of I Just Can’t Wait To Be King which had audiences grinning as both young Simba and Nala were sat upon giant colourful birds, and the spectacular and emotional rendition of He Lives In You between Rafiki and Simba.

From the hilarious depictions of the chortling hyenas to the bond between dynamic duo Timon and Pumbaa, the attention to each detail in the performance, in costume and in tone is phenomenal and entirely unrivalled from much else seen on stage.

Still, after 22 years the show is captivating audiences of all ages and it is easy to see why.

The Lion King is an absolute showstopper which brings vibrance, wonder, elusive Disney magic and West End sparkle right into the heart of the Capital. Living up to its brilliant track record and hype surrounding it, it is a phenomenal performance which is not to be missed.

5 out of 5 stars