BLOG: Experience Disney’s The Lion King

A great review of Disney’s The Lion King in London’s West End, including tips on how to secure theatre tickets at a reasonable price, written by one of our 4Youth Community members.

Currently, over at the Lyceum Theatre in London’s West End, you will find Disney’s The Lion King. This musical has been there since 1999 and is one of the longest-running West End shows. Somehow, despite me being an avid theatregoer, The Lion King had passed me by, so I decided to go along and see what I’d been missing.

To be completely honest, despite it being a popular long-running show, I was sceptical about how much I would enjoy The Lion King. In the past, I have seen other Disney West End productions, which I haven’t connected to. I felt that, in some ways, they were making a show which pleased the audience, rather than choosing to take the essence of the film and take it above and beyond for the stage adaptation. This is one of the things I loved about The Lion King – it seemed to really utilise the art of live theatre and make not just a show to watch, but, rather, a show to experience.

“It seemed to really utilise the art of live theatre and make not just a show to watch, but, rather, a show to experience.”

The ambience is set as soon as you enter the auditorium, with the sounds of animals subtly in the background. The actors can be seen both on-stage and in the auditorium at points during the show, which makes for an immersive and exciting atmosphere and even as I sat up in the Grand Circle, I felt fully involved in the action. The cast was phenomenal, with every performer contributing equally as an ensemble, though I have to give a special mention to Gary Jordan, who plays the role of Zazu. The combination of the brilliant blue and white costume to represent the sky, the incredible Zazu puppet and Gary’s performance, bringing the character to life, really left a big impression on me. I hadn’t anticipated leaving the theatre feeling so fond of such a sarcastic African red-billed hornbill, but here we are!

One of the reasons that I hadn’t liked previous Disney West End productions was due to audience behaviour. In particular, I had gone to see Aladdin a few years back with my mum as a birthday present and the tickets were not cheap. Neither of us were really into the show as a whole and we found that there were problems with the sound, which meant that we often couldn’t hear the lyrics certain actors were singing. Aside from that, though, the two of us were almost surrounded by a large group of school children. They, and many other audience members, spent much of the performance singing along, chatting, leaving the auditorium, coming back in, leaving again and coming back in again. The teachers had decided to sit next to each other, rather than spreading out to watch the children and the fact that they were singing along and chatting, too, suggests that they would have done nothing about it, even if they had been sat apart. Thankfully, at The Lion King, I didn’t have any problems at all.

It’s great for people to visit the theatre, especially when they’ve never been before – it opens up a whole new world and can inspire people in many, many positive ways. The more people who go to the theatre, the more audience members are buying tickets, merchandise, drinks from the bar and ultimately, keeping shows running and theatres open. The trouble, is that when people haven’t been to the theatre before, they may not be familiar with theatre etiquette, which is ultimately to be respectful of everyone else in the theatre. When theatre-goers have paid around £50 of their hard-earned money to go and support the arts, they don’t expect to be sitting next to someone screaming song lyrics in their ear or lighting up the room, as they check their phone every three minutes (the latter of which happened to me at both Hamilton and In the Heights – sorry, Lin-Manuel Miranda).

“It opens up a whole new world and can inspire people in many, many positive ways”

Of course, many people would love to go to the West End, but they might be thinking that tickets are out of their price range. Have no fear, there are many ways that you can get tickets at a reasonable price and here’s how:

Treat yourself to a trip to the theatre and have a great day!