Review: The Lion King – a magical piece of musical theatre

Richard Hurst (Scar) and Matthew Forbes (Zazu) in Disney's The Lion King.  Pic: Disney.
Richard Hurst (Scar) and Matthew Forbes (Zazu) in Disney's The Lion King. Pic: Disney.

Wow – from the moment the curtain goes up until the cast take their bows, Disney’s The Lion King is a spectacular show.

As the opening bars of Circle of Life filled the Edinburgh Playhouse the audience were captivated by the stunning sights and sounds of this award-winning musical.

This is the most magical piece of musical theatre, which sees the whole theatre used as the stage, to full effect.

The audience feel truly immersed in the African plains as the cast bring the animals to life, with wonderful costumes and incredible use of puppetry which seemlessly transforms them from human to animal.

It’s genius and reflects the production’s attention to detail.

The choreography is perfect in continuing the animal portrayal.

The musical tells the story of Simba, which we’re all familiar with thanks to the 1994 film.

The little lion cub flees Pride Rock after his evil uncle Scar murders his father and the king Mufasa, yet makes Simba believe he killed him.

We follow him on his journey to adulthood as he struggles to accept the responsibilities of becoming king, before he returns home to save his kingdom from destruction.

If you ever had any concerns on how the story you know from Disney’s classic animation translates onto a theatre stage, then you need to put them behind you.

Everything about The Lion King works and it’s staged on an outstanding scale.

Full of colour, an awesome soundtrack, colourful costumes and stunning scenery it’s breathtaking to see.

The ensemble work hard throughout and there are some stand out performances among the cast.

A highlight and some comedy relief comes from Matthew Forbes as Zazu with his local references and a nod to Frozen.

Thandazile Soni hits all the right notes with her portrayal of Rafiki and there’s fun to be had, as you’d expect from Steve Beirnaert as Timon and Carl Sanderson as Pubmaa.

The cast’s leads all play their roles brilliantly.

The standing ovation was certainly well deserved.

With the musical’s run at the Edinburgh Playhouse having been extended into April, with good availability for many dates, if you’ve not had the chance to see this amazing stage show then you’d be crazy not to get yourself a ticket.

The Lion King runs at Edinburgh Playhouse until April 18, 2020.

For full ticket information click here