Get ready to sit on the edge of your seat! The Disney production of The Lion King is better than you can imagine. I had seen pictures of the staging, I had heard tell of the wow-factor, but nothing I read nor heard prepared me for the grandiose production that took to the stage. It truly has to be seen to be believed.
The opening number caused the audience to erupt into applause half way through. The singing, costuming and scale of staging (we are talking life-size elephant) is unparalleled. No other production I’ve seen does such a good job of transforming the entire theatre-space into an experience. The performance isn’t just contained to the stage. The fourth-wall is broken, the performers are in the audience, and the production is all the better for it.
There were many little ones in the audience. I was very tempted to bring my two young boys. However the production is true to the movie and both the elephant graveyard and Mufasa’s death were appropriately dark. If your little one scares easily you may want to wait until they are a bit older. However, if your child can handle the odd scary moment the Lion King will spoil them for future musical productions.
I have to give a standing ovation to a few performers. Both of the children in the production – young Nala played by Mikari Tarpley and young Simba played by Tre Jones – were absolute knock outs. If your child is remotely interested in performing on stage, bring them to the Lion King. They can’t help but be inspired by Tarpley and Jones’ performances. As for the adults there were many exceptional performers. Mufasa, played by L. Steven Taylor, had an unbelievably rich gooey-caramel voice. He could stand in the middle of a bare stage and have any audience in the palm of his hand the second he began to sing. Another performer who deserves a shout out is the evil and manipulative Scar, performed by Patrick R. Brown. Oh, he is good…skin crawling, nasty, snake-in-the-grass good.
The Lion King is in Vancouver until July 12th. There are still tickets available. If you are interested in taking younger children you may wish to consider a matinee performance as the show is 3 hours long, so a nighttime performance lets out at 10:30.