The Lion King
1st July 2013
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Tonight (28th June 2013) Birmingham Hippodrome will begin an eagerly anticipated three month run of the production and having seen a preview it certainly lives up to the billing. From the extraordinary vibrant opening song to the final curtain there is much to entertain anyone who sees the show. Although the central story is engaging enough, the challenge of doing justice on stage to what must have been demanding in animation has been executed brilliantly. The colours in the costumes, the musicality and singing, the choreography, props and sets provide an outstanding spectacle in the theatre. But “The Lion King” is much more than a complex song and dance routine; it is a tale of life and death, of promise, betrayal, despair and hope renewed. It is about growing up. And the job of telling this tale falls to the principal actors who are well cast. Cleveland Cathnott captures the majestic nature of Mufasa and Stephen Carlile (Scar) convincingly conveys the sinister nature of the king’s brother. Rafiki, played largely for laughs by Gugwana Dlamini, does not allow the character to be a fool. In the end, however, it is the progress of Simba from cub to King, and that of his partner, Nala, that is the main thread. Young Simba and young Nala are played by children on a roster, I anticipate that they will all be as effective as the two seen at the preview. Nicholas Nkuna (Simba) and Carole Stennett (Nala) deliver appropriately playful performances. If there are any negatives about this show it is that you are still marvelling over the last scene well into the middle of the next. Certainly some technical aspects were almost a delightful distraction, but you can’t pause and replay live theatre! To see this production of “The Lion King” on stage is to experience something quite special. See it in Birmingham and enjoy a real treat for the family this summer. The Lion King is on at Birmingham Hippodrome from Friday 28th June until Saturday 28th September. Tickets available online/phone from Ticketmaster (tel: 0844 844 0444) or The Ticket Factory (tel: 0844 338 0338) or in person from the Birmingham Hippodrome box office

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