Watching Disney’s The Lion King at the cinema is one of my best childhood memories—from the opening song, as the sun rises across the Pride Lands, I was spellbound. Needless to say, seeing the theatrical production of The Lion King in London has been on my must-do list for years. 15 years in fact.
When I was 16, I worked at The Disney Store. I’d hate to say how many times I saw the promotional video for this production while working in that shop—but I never got bored of it. Imagine my delight when From The Box Office asked if I’d like a “complimentary ticket and exclusive backstage pass”? UM YES I WOULD PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
While obviously being keen to avoid spoiling any of the show, my personal highlights were the opening scene (I may have found myself welling up) and the reappearance of Mufasa as Simba contemplates returning to Pride Rock.
I am literally all goosebump-y just thinking about it.
For obvious reasons, photography wasn’t allowed during the performance or our backstage tour. But I did geek out on facts and took some notes as we were shown around:
- The costumes are mostly made from carbon fibre, which is strong but light so that the performers’ movements aren’t inhibited.
- A conscious choice was made to not completely hide the actors’ faces: some spectators have commented that they prefer to watch the actors and others that they like to focus on the costume.
- All of the costumes are hand-crafted and custom-made to fit each performer perfectly. For example, there are several Zazu puppets and the hand cranks inside the understudy’s puppet are different to that of the main performer’s, so they can both easily control ‘Zazu’ on stage.
- The lioness costumes are partly made from parachute silk and all individually painted, as each real-life lioness has unique markings. The older lionesses have more intricate costumes, which is also true to life.
- MAC created special make up brushes for the show.
- There are a couple of themes running throughout the show: circles, for example the antelope puppet; and Masai culture, such as the red paint worn by adult Simba.
- Bram Stoker used to manage the Lyceum Theatre!
I honestly cannot recommend this show enough—despite the 15-year wait it thoroughly exceeded all of my expectations. And then some. Thank you to From The Box Office for a perfect birthday present!
—This post is in collaboration with From The Box Office. Images kindly provided.