The Lion King roars into Bristol

PUBLISHED: 11:37 11 September 2012

The Lion King. Photograph: Deen van Meer

The Lion King. Photograph: Deen van Meer


THE spectacular musical The Lion King has roared into life at the Bristol Hippodrome, leaving its audience in awe after every scene.

The show is breathtaking from the moment the curtain lifts with its stunning spectacle of African wildlife storming the stage which has its viewers hooked and wanting more.

The Lion King features some of the most inventive acting skills, dances and costumes ever seen in the city, pulling theatre lovers into the wild world of the savannah.

As the wild array of animals prowl and prance across the stage, they are accompanied by strong beats of African drums and prepare the entrance for the main characters.

The creative talents of not only the actors but the prop masters take theatre to a new level where the elaborate costumes merge into the performers’ movements and animals begin to talk.

Props must go to Stephen Carlile, who plays the jealous Scar – brother to the King Lion of Pride Rock Mufasa. With his smooth and seductively evil voice and eloquent movements in his headdress, he beautifully mimics the movements of a proud and lazy cat, forcing the audience to love and hate his character at the same time.

With the arrival of Mufasa’s son Simba, scar grieves the fact that he has lost his place in line for the throne.

And as Simba grows up, filled with excitement for his future as King, Scar plots the death of his brother and nephew with his hysterical hyenas, who also have the audience in fits of laughter.

After Scar kills Mufasa by organising a buffalo stampede, he convinces Simba he is responsible and instructs him to run away.

Simba, played by Auden Barnes in the first scenes and carried on by Nicholas Nkuna, must then learn to live alone in the wild.

But he is helped by the hilarious meerkat Timon and warthog Pumbaa, played by John Hasler and Mark Roper.

John mimics the voice of Timon from the Disney cartoon perfectly and you cannot help but fall in love with the dumb-wit of Mark’s comedy stylings.

With guidance from the wise but eccentric Rafiki, played by the amazingly talented Gugwana Dlamini, Simba finds the courage to return home, confront his uncle and take his rightful place as King.

Every scene of the show betters the previous and the audience was left speechless when Mufasa’s head was formed in the night’s sky with huge individual wood pieces, to represent his spirit.

The show spares no detail, from performers sweeping the stage with ‘grasshead’ headdresses to exotic 18ft giraffes played by actors on stilts. At the final curtain drop, each member of the audience was either left speechless or with little breath from raving of the show’s unbelievable success.

The Lion King will be at the theatre until November 17. Tickets, priced £20-52.50, are available from the box office on 0844 8713012.

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