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Disney’s “The Lion King”

March 27, 2011

Event: The Lion King
Venue: Sands Theater at Marina Bay Sands
Run: 3rd Mar – 31st May 2011

A Spectacular Beyond Words

For all the supposed failings of Julie Taymor as director of the beleaguered Spider-man musical, one can never take away from her her crowning achievement that is the Disney musical “The Lion King”, winner of the 1998 Tony Award for Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical, amongst others.

Indeed, Disney’s “The Lion King” is a majestic spectacle that is beyond compare.

No amount of pre-show hype will be enough to prepare you for what is to be the most astounding and colourful spectacular that will unfurl before your eyes the moment the lights dim and the sound of the African voices begins to glow.

The opening scene itself (“Circle of Life”), possessing all the vibrance and raw energy of the great African wilderness, whereby all the animals big and small slowly paraded onstage in their colourful splendour, was mesmerising enough to immediately make you forget about the $168 hole in your pocket.

Such is the sheer power and magnetism of “The Lion King”.

And the musical went on to impress further, with fanciful stage sets and costumes that were previously unimaginable to the mind.

And it is indeed in the area of sets, and costumes especially, which I thought the musical thoroughly excelled in.

You could see that a lot of painstaking detail had been put into the creation of the beautiful costumes, not to mention the implementation of many a nifty idea here and there.

If there’s one thing “The Lion King” has succeeded in, it is to widen one’s perception on the limitations of what can be portrayed on a theatre stage.

The story of the musical rarely deviated from the cartoon, and to be honest, there was hardly any need to, because the 1994 animated film had in itself a well-contained story of a young lion being banished from his homeland by an evil uncle, and eventually returning home to avenge his father’s death and claim his rightful mandate as ruler of the land.

In terms of songs, I would say that it was the songs from the 1994 film which basically carried the musical, e.g. “Circle of Life”, “Hakuna Matata”, “Can You Feel The Love Tonight”.

The new song numbers did not really make a lasting impression, although there was a lot of indigenous African music sung and played throughout the musical, which obviously lent a great deal of authenticity and gravitas to the proceedings.

The book was well done, and there were many extremely funny lines which I enjoyed, coming mostly from Zazu in the 1st act, and Timon in the 2nd.

In fact, of all the characters in the show, I loved the Timon character the best.

Structure-wise, the biggest gripe that my fellow companion and I had was that the 1st act seemed to end on the wrong note.

One would have thought that the most appropriate point to end off the 1st act would be immediately after Mufasa dies, because that is usually the way musicals are traditionally supposed to end off their 1st act (see “West Side Story” whereby the 1st act ends with both Riff and Bernardo lying dead on the floor) as it leaves the audience with a huge sense of suspense and makes them want to stay on for the 2nd act.

However, for some strange reason the musical went one scene further and ended off after the “Hakuna Matata” scene, whereby Simba meets Timon and Pumbaa and they sing the saccherinely-optimistic number before the curtains come down.


But that is perhaps the only negative point we could force ourselves to come up with, because “The Lion King” is quite simply the most visually-impressive musical that I’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing.

The ticket price may be steeper than your average musical, but this is hardly your average musical.

A must-watch for the whole family, if not for the story or songs, at least for the sheer spectacle of it all.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 3, 2011 6:35 pm

    I enjoyed every single scene and moment too! The accompanying African beats from the “balcony seats” were infectious!
    I felt like I was transported into the jungle, being a part of the action 😉

    Did Timon say, “let it go LAH!”? Haha!

  2. Ilkosa permalink
    April 4, 2011 10:59 am

    With all the rave reviews, looking forward to it this Friday! 🙂


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