Let us know what you think and join the conversation at the bottom of this article
It's an amazing transformation that highlights just why make-up artists are called just that, artists.
Recently, in London's Lyceum Theatre, where The Lion King has been running for the last 23 years, I had the opportunity to undergo the same 45-minute process as Richard when the incredibly talented Bianca Barratt sat me down and set to work with just a jar of various sized paint brushes and a small hand held palette of eight colours, with which she would create the distinctive design to turn me into the conniving pretender to the Pridelands crown by blending and mixing the ochres, yellows, reds, blacks and whites available to her.
Ensuring she has turned me away from the mirror, in order that I might experience the full effect when her handiwork is revealed, Bianca starts by applying a base using good old fashioned grease paint, it’s liberally applied to my forehead, cheeks and nose.
Onto this base, she will build a design that never changes, other than maybe a slight adaptation here and there to accommodate the features of the wearer. In my case that means a little more shading following the cheek-line to ensure that my round face becomes suitably hollow.
Chatting as she works, Bianca explains that while the make-up takes around 45 minutes, the complete transformation is nearer an hour as, after the face is in place, there's still Scar's large wig to fit and an impressive head-dress that, when worn by Richard, already over six feet tall, makes the character an imposing sight indeed.
I can't help feeling that I am probably going to be the shortest and roundest Scar in the history of the show.
As the paint is applied to my face, layer upon layer, I can actually feel its weight. I certainly know it’s there but have only the reactions of those watching to gauge of how it's going.
Richard himself has asked if he can watch, it's a novelty for him to see the process applied to someone else and he's fascinated. “It's looking quite amazing,” he reassures me.
After applying swooping lines to my nose, highlighting and shadowing the contours, Bianca steps back to check her work, returning to tweak the details slightly before moving on to my eyes.
“Look up,” she says, before starting to apply eye-liner that will lift my eyes from the rest of the design. She is ensuring my features are larger than usual so that even those in the furthest away seats from the stage will get the full impact of her work and see every detail.
I close my eyes as a final dusting of powder is applied after which Bianca spins me around to face the mirror... the sight that meets me is a spectacular one. I’ve been transformed by an amazing use of lines, angles and colours that come together to highlight the sheer artistry of those backstage whose work it's all too easy to take for granted.