21 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7RQ 0844 871 3000
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Audio Described performance: 17th March 2020 at 7.30pm (touch tour 5.30pm)
Captioned performance: 24th March 2020 at 7.30pm
Signed performance: 21st April 2020 at 7.30pm
Kimba (sorry), Simba is the lion prince, promoted on the suspicious death of his father. A wicked uncle, aspirant lioness princess, and flatulent warthog get in on the act to round out the tails (sorry) tales of the African plain.
Please be aware that strobe lighting is used in this production.
Autism-friendly performances are scheduled annually. The next is on 31st May 2020 at 1.30pm. See www.lionkingautismfriendly.co.uk for details, and https://throughacceptinglimits.wordpress.com/ for an account of the very first one in 2013... the most moving blog about theatre the monkey has ever read...
No fan of the movie (derivative and frankly borderline racist in theatremonkey's opinion), the stage version held even less appeal.
On the plus side the anthropomorphism is a step up from 'Cats', with some stunning costume design allowing herds of animals to be portrayed by a single talented dancer. An effective scenic design and awesome lighting plot create a very real environment, better than any cartoon.
So the scene is right. The book just isn't. The same witless story is stretched by adding just serviceable John / Rice numbers to a set this monkey was already sick of from the film release.
Go see it and make up your own mind.
Important: Some reviews below can contain "spoilers" - please don't read if this bothers you!
I saw the show many years ago - before I saw the film - so had no expectations. I recall being amazed by the opening scene (but not in floods of tears like many around me) and enjoying the rest.
Coming back - post suffering what I consider to be one of Disney's worst films - I had more of an idea of what to expect. I've also seen a LOT of shows in the meantime.
What I would say, if it is your first time seeing Lion King on stage, you need Stalls seats. The opening number (when the animals come to the stage via the aisles) is spectacular. Sit anywhere else, you lose so much of the experience. After that? Sitting higher up is fine (the Grand Circle is - if you can handle vertigo - a great place to sit as you get a fine view of the entire stage).
The plot? In this age of slagging 'Juke Box' musicals for their paper thin plots? LK isn't exactly King Lear. There are some nods towards ecology, denouncing patriarchal societies, taking responsibility... and not a lot else.
The spectacle? The staging is still fantastic (the stampede is superbly done), but they do drag out numbers and scenes seemingly to fill time. The best scenes are still the ones with Zazu (nice update: When Scar asks Zazu to sing something more lively, he bursts into "Let It Snow", which brought a laugh). How the actors perform as the animals (their core muscle control is astounding) is fascinating to watch.
The songs? They're entertaining, 'Circle of Life' is memorable.
But... it is dragged out. Shaving time from each act and tightening the story would make it punchier and definitely easier on the backside! Further, when [spoiler alert] Mufasa's spirit comes back to talk to Simba? What is the point of the animatronic mask, the one that looks like they've borrowed Wicked's spare Wizard of Oz mask? Surely it would be more effective to white-light the actor, making him appear ghostly? [spoiler alert ends].
If you have never been, LK is worth seeing. The sheer spectacle, the staging and how the performers become the animals is fascinating. But it is content light and overly long. But let's face it, nothing is going to change, on a Monday night the house was full; are you going to change the formula?
I can't shake the feeling that if LK launched now, it would close early. Perhaps not a show to revisit?
My wife and I went to see 'The Lion King' last night (19th February 2009) after years of people telling us how fantastic it was. I have to say they were right! The way that they have managed to bring a Disney cartoon to the stage is done with such energy and grace that you sometimes forget that you are watching a West End show. You think you are there with them!
We were in the Royal Circle in seats M23 and 24. I took the advice of the Monkey's seating plan and once again it didn't let me down! When we got there it seemed that the overhang might be an issue with regards of what we were able to see but I was wrong! They were perfect. In fact, I think it is better to be sat a little way back then you see less of the actors in the costumes. All you see is the animals!
As for the production itself it was a very good adaptation of the Disney classic. There were only two things that didn't really work for me. The first is Scar's decision that he wants a son and heir and subsequently tries to force himself on Nala. This was completely unnecessary within the context of the story and even made it feel too sinister. Not a good point to have to explain to young children! The other thing was that when the spirit of Mufasa comes back to talk to Simba it looked very robotic which was a bit of a let down. They could have done with both characters on stage facing away from each other and talking!
The acting is polished and slick. The African dialect and singing is magical and something to be cherished. Not even children will be bored of this! The children playing the parts of Young Simba and Nala are obviously loving what they are doing. The boy playing Simba has to carry 99% of the first act on his shoulders. Not an easy job for someone so young. However, he does it with energy and professionalism which is refreshing to see!
If you are anything like me part of the experience is watching the percussionists in the royal boxes who obviously are highly skilled and love what they do. But maybe that's just me!
One last tip: it says on the tickets take your seats five minutes before the start. It's for a good reason and also do the same before the end of the interval. You will not be disappointed!
My school's Culture Club organised a trip to see 'The Lion King' on Tuesday 9th December 2008. About 20 of us went with a few of the staff. We managed to get a good group booking - we were spread about a bit in groups over 3 different rows but we managed to get great seats in the stalls for only £23 each. Bargain! I was sitting in Q13 and I must say the view was superb. Not too far back and not too close to the stage. The legroom wasn't too bad either (considering I'm 5 foot 10) the only gripe was a large group of annoying young boys sitting behind us - but that was to be expected at a Disney show.
That aside, it was a great show! I'd been before many years ago - I must have been 8 - and the hyenas scared me so much I had to swap from my aisle seat to a safer one! I remembered some parts of the show but I'd forgotten the impact it has on you. This show is amazingly uplifting which I think is not just down to the story, songs and costumes - the cast is particularly exceptional, sung brilliantly and acted well. George Asprey's (Scar) and Shaun Escoffery's (Mufasa) performances stood out for me but I can't fault any of the main cast or ensemble at all to be honest. It really feels like every member has a passion for what they do and give 100% every single show, which unfortunately seems like a rare thing nowadays.
I would recommend this to anyone of any age, especially if they can get cheap seats like we did! I'd also suggest buying the soundtrack because you will need to satisfy your addiction to the songs for several weeks afterwards!
Took my nearly six year old to see this last night (7th April 2010) – a repeat trip for my wife and I after first seeing it on honeymoon! It certainly seemed much better than I remember it being – especially watching it alongside the wonder, excitement, fear and joy of a small child!
Great cast, great show – though some sections of the evening do seem to drag for an eternity… The staging, costumes and puppets are amazing and, I feel, the show really takes off when the Elton John tracks make way for the sublime music of Lebo M.
Sat in the Royal Circle (D19, 20 and 21) as recommended by the nice Ticketmaster lady when I booked the seats months ago and very well recommended seats too. Plenty of leg room (I’m 5ft11) and bag room round the feet – even enough room for my wife who is expecting our second child in May(!). I would have booked an aisle seat had I known then what I know now!! The rake is steep enough that we missed the mess of the lighting gantry that spoils the Row A view and steep enough that my boy could see everything over the heads of those in front. Thank you very much nice Ticketmaster lady!!!
Overall – a good show with some outstanding moments of music and staging, but to really experience it you must see it through the wide-eyes of a child.
I went to see Lion King on Sunday 1st May 2011.
I had 2 tickets for box C and it was one of the best seats ever. I had booked a box for a surprise for a friend and didn't want him to know until we got to the box, the staff were brilliant and didn't let on until we got to the box.
The box is above the stalls and is really close to the front, it is slightly restricted view but you only miss about a minute of the action the whole show so it is worth the discounted price. As you are able to move the chairs and lean on the side you can move about and see everything else.
SPOILER: We were particularly excited when one of the cast members joined us for the beginning of act 2 and she was very nice - saying 'hi' before the song started. SPOILER ENDS.
I would recommend anyone to go for these seats if you are looking for cheaper seats but want a brilliant view. There are only 2 seats per box though. You could see a little of what was going on offstage right but as myself and my friend work in theatre this added to the excitement.
Fantastic show with beautiful costumes and amazing cast and would definitely go again.
Wednesday Evening 13th July 2011.
The theatre was jammed / packed and I couldn’t see a single empty seat around me! Unsurprisingly there were many children in the audience, and most seemed entranced by the masks and puppets of the animals - and especially in the way they moved in coordination with the actors playing them.
Spoiler: There’s a very good reason why you’re asked to take your seats five minutes before the scheduled start of the show as many of the animals come down the aisles in the stalls on their way to the stage, brushing past the aisle seats! This happens again after the interval. Spoiler Ends.
I had a left hand block aisle seat in the stalls M29. The view was reasonable, but if I went a second time I would sit in the middle block and a little further forward as, at times, the actors appeared somewhat distant. I must also say that my seat was one of the most uncomfortable I have sat in, in any theatre. I’m only 5’8’’ tall and average build, but I just couldn’t stop fidgeting to find a comfortable position.
Most of the principle cast were performing that night and I particularly liked George Asprey as Scar. He has a very fruity voice which reminded me at times of Leslie Phillips! The two children who played the young Simba and Nala were very good but they only appear in the first act. It was a shame that they weren’t allowed to take their bow at the end of the show, but I suppose that being children with all the regulations governing them, there would be no point in staying back stage doing nothing for another hour.
One final thing is that the programmes seem very expensive, more so than at other theatres, being £4 for the cast programme and £8 for the souvenir brochure.
Took the kids to see 'The Lion King' yesterday (Sunday Matinee, 9th February 2014 ) as a joint birthday treat. Hideously expensive - but less traumatic than doing two parties!
I thought I would be bored to tears as I really don't like the film. Very dull and one of Disney's worse efforts in my opinion. But the show, wow! I thought it was one of the most beautiful and spectacular things I've ever seen. I was utterly captivated from the start and so were the kids. Absolutely fantastic. We'd only just left the theatre and they were asking if we could see it again!
Seats: We were in the stalls, row S, seats 11, 12, 13 and 14. They're on the aisle in the rear block slightly to the right of centre and we paid about £65 each. Absolutely fine seats and would have no hesitation booking them again. My youngest sat on the aisle and had a clear view and the added bonus of the animals walking by. One of the hyenas tried to take off her shoe but she put up a good fight! I did notice that, if we had been any further back, we wouldn't have been able to see the top of the stage so I think row S is about as far back as I would want to be.
Just a couple of moans: £1 for a booster cushion ! Are they taking the p**s? I would have thought that £65 was enough to pay for a seven year old child to see a show. Yes, it's only a pound but how many more extra charges are these theatres going to impose. They'll be charging extra to put the houselights on as you arrive next.....
AND: Not enough toilets....but that's par for the course in just about every theatre I've ever been to....and, I'm guessing that if they did provide adequate toilet facilities they'd probably charge you an extra pound to use them !!!
There isn't enough praise you can give to 'The Lion King.' It is quite simply an experience not to be missed! From the moment the music begins until the very end of the show I don't think there is a single person who will not be moved by this awe inspiring musical. The word I would use to describe this show is mesmerising. Everything, from the pageantry of the costumes, the colourful set and breathtaking songs, is faultless.
The tiny negative I would warn people of is that sometimes the sound of the orchestra impairs the sound of the actors speaking, especially the child actors. That might only be a problem at the front of the stalls though.
Five out five stars, no doubt.
Seat review: Sit in the stalls. I cannot stress this enough. Yes, you get a better overall view in the circle and yes, there are parts of the play that take place high up but the stalls cannot be beat for the wonderful experience they offer. I have seen this play four times, twice in London and every time I have been in the stalls. There is nothing like their immersive experience, particularly the front ten rows. The best seat I had was in the stalls row D seat 15. Seats in the central row of the stalls are a must to get the best view and nearer than row C and you might have a conductors head in front of you.
Thursday 4th June 2015, 7.30pm. Went to Box Office at 3pm and got a standing ticket for £15, bang in the centre, number 15. I think there must be 30 in total and they all offer an excellent view. There is a short thick wooden wall to lean on and separates you from the people sitting in front, who are so low that you have a completely clear view top to bottom of the stage, even of the conductor too. The floor is carpeted and so with a sit down in the interval I had no problems standing 7.30pm to 10pm. Obviously it is hard to make out the expressions on the actors' faces but I had some opera glasses and it didn't seem to be a particularly worse view than anywhere in the grand circle. I might even prefer the view standing here to sitting at the back of the dress circle.
NB On a separate occasion, box office told me that the standing tickets were always £25. Clearly they don't know what they're doing.
I ADORE the original cast recording, which I have been listening to constantly for a couple of months, and thought I should go and see it staged.
What I saw tonight I would want to compare with a bad panto. Unengaged and sloppy actors, dancers and singers, with repetitive panto choreography. I winced in Nala's song "Shadowlands" particularly, I think maybe she was ill. The child actors were noticeably weak and perfunctory, compared with say, 'Billy Elliot' or 'Matilda.'
In Scar's song "Be Prepared", there was even a section that I would describe as a topless disco dance break, where four more hyenas came on; but for some reason they were all topless men, as opposed to the costumed hyenas that were on stage previously. The band stopped playing, I think, and a mindless Eurobeat came on over the speakers, with some Butlins level choreography. That was a low point.
So much of the wonderful choral African singing in the score was done off stage, so the music seemed weirdly out of sync with what was on stage. Very often you would hear a full choir, but there would only be four people on stage. The sound system was very tinny and badly mixed, so many of the band instruments were swallowed up - and it wasn't possible to hear the orchestrations, just a kind of general mush.
They cut one of my favourite bits in the score, the erotic dance instrumental in "Can You Feel The Love Tonight", instead jumping straight into the final verse, modulated, just standing and the declaiming it to the audience centre stage. Extremely basic staging and made the song feel completely undeserved and irrelevant.
Due to the constant bright lighting, ungenuine acting and sparse staging (a lot of the time you are just looking at an empty yellow floor with with one or two people on it) the stakes felt incredibly low and I couldn't care about anyone. I do not feel this about the film, where I find things like the stampede harrowing, and Mufasa's return in the clouds extremely moving. Where the film uses imaginative aesthetics and engaging, thoughtful performances, the stage show seems to use stripped back staging and incompetent actors.
Thank goodness I only paid £15, but I do think of the people who spend £125 a ticket, perhaps for a whole family. What must they think? Do they get any complaints? For me the show is absolutely not up to the standard that Disney usually set, and it is not up to the standards of what I believe the West End should be offering, especially at these astronomical prices.
I should add that the audience, of which many were children of course, were screaming at any given opportunity for applause, and were talking, rustling, and shouting, moving, texting, etc, throughout the show. I have absolutely never seen the like, I actually found it funny and interesting rather than annoying, because clearly I was in the minority. For me that was absolutely part of the theatre experience as well as the show itself.
If the producer of the Lion King musical actually came to me and said, "what do you suggest?" I literally don't know what I would say. On an artistic level, I think the show should close, but clearly since there is such a huge demand for it, it seems silly to cancel it. I think I would say, get better actors and update it in some ways to make it more in line with the quality that the West End is currently offering. Fortunately for them that meeting will of course never happen, so I imagine they will just continue running it for as long as they can with the least amount of effort. I think that is a real shame and I think Disney should be ashamed of themselves.
It hasn't put me off the soundtrack, which is still up there as one of my favourite albums of all time, and I will continue to listen to it and love it.
Thursday 7th May 2015.
Stalls seats P 27 and 28. Great view, rake acceptable, seats fairly comfy.
Facilities adequate. As usual in London theatres not enough toilets, very cramped in foyer leading to auditorium.
Drinks / nibbles / merchandise all overpriced, and limited choices.
Member of staff on box office door VERY abrupt with patrons collecting tickets pre-show. I appreciate it is a small area and only letting the person collecting the tickets in (rather than whole groups / families) is understandable, he was on the point of being rude - particularly to foreign visitors with less than perfect understanding of English.
Show: SPOILER ALERT.
This is one of the few long running shows I have never seen before and my verdict?
Meh! It was OK.
Yes, I appreciate the way the actors and puppets portray the roles. Yes, I thought the young kids in the first half were good. Yes, the savannah, elephant graveyard and stampede scenery were good; but although I really wanted to love it, and didn't hate it - I truly wasn't blown away.
My wife (who is not normally opinionated on many shows we've seen) absolutely loved it, but sadly it's not even at the bottom of my 'must see again' list.
I arrived at 7am as first in line for day seats on 26th November 2017.
7:50am my friend arrived, 7:55am a girl arrived, by 8:40am - 5 people waiting; 12 Total waiting 9:30am; 15 Total waiting 10:45am and 30 by the time the box office opened.
I got Front Row Centre A23+A24 for £25 each - Absolutely wonderful seats. Experienced the show completely differently as from Row N.
It was soooooo cold waiting all morning but sooooo worth it!
Thanks for such an awesome Website!!!
I went to see the show on Weds 20 August 2003 and watched the matinee. We sat in the stalls ( row K ) and were centre to the stage. Full and magnificent view of every part of the stage.
I have to say I am very surprised by some reviews I have read. This show is magnificent. Having seen several of the "top" shows I would say this is the best. The costumes and puppetry were incredible - the cast were stunning, I have to say that the two children ( young Simba and Nala ) were wonderful. The music is fantastic as you would expect - if at times a little loud !!!
Special effects are obviously designed to be viewed from the stalls as from where we sat they were incredible. The ghost of Mustafa appearing and the site of the stampede was mind blowing from our view.
This musical is a must see and is a huge improvement on the Disney film of the Lion King
I thought the Lion King musical was brilliant, as did the nine friends I saw it with.
The costumes were simply amazing, and the production cleverly designed to really get the audience involved with 'animals' filing in along the aisles, and singers positioned in the boxes as well as on stage.
I loved the music - the Elton John/Tim Rice songs were excellent, and blended beautifully with the more traditional African music. In fact, I purchased the cast recording on the night!
It's definitely one of the best shows I've seen, and I would recommend it as a great night out for theatregoers of all ages.
Disney has definitely brought its magic to the West End! We really did not know what to expect from this production as how can you bring a cartoon based on animals to life and maintain the Disney magic convincingly?
It was fantastic! The vibrant colours throughout and the upbeat music will have your feet tapping in no time. I never expected what we witnessed but from the first moment (an animal parade) to the closing number we were swept away. The use of masks and puppets is exceptionally well thought out.
We were in row B seats 17 and 18 and my only gripe would be we were maybe to close to the stage, but that was our own choosing.
Go see it if only for the dream scene in the second act, you will talk about it all the way home.
Tristen and Kelly
We took our two boys 4 & 6 and we were all absolutely enthralled. The special
effects and costumes added to show. Great for the kids and adults. Must go to
the theatre more often!
Steve, Heather, Ben & Sam Weitzel
This Show is awful. The film has been shoehorned into theatre rather than being reworked for it as was the case with Beauty and the Beast. (still one of my favourite shows).
As such the animals (for they are certainly not deep enough to be called characters) are twee and seem artificially inserted into a powerful story. The spectacle is good, but the climax thereof comes shockingly early (in the first scene in fact. It seems to be a victim of the Disney attitude that if you put enough money into something you won't have to think about it.
Save your money- for you seem to pay top price for virtually everything but the very worst seats. And see what the West End really has to offer. However, the music is fairly inoffensive, I'll concede that!
I speak as someone who loves the film. Take what you will from that!
My two cents about the Lion King at the Lyceum.
It's certainly a show filled with eye candy. It's great to look at. I do like the film myself, but having seen it enough to be able to talk along with the people (not saying I did that!) on stage after five minutes was pretty disappointing. I too thought they would put more trouble into a remake of the story and didn't expect word-for-word identical dialogue at least 75% of the time. There have been some new songs added, that personally I found nice.
The voice of the older Nala was magnificent. Though, as my boyfriend pointed out, the singing performance of the younger Simba and Nala was somewhat lacking. It's better on the CD (though I liked London's older Nala better than on CD, on December 26th 2002). Overall, didn't leave with a great feeling, since it was material so known to me already.
Very nicely done but beware those who already know the film well, Be Prepared... for a lot of familiar words....
Karin van den Berg,
I went to see the Lion King and sat in the Upper Circle, Row A. I could see the stage easily but I could see rather too much in that the effects were ruined by the fact that you could see how they were created. Given that I was at the front of the Upper Circle, I thought this was appalling.
The stampede was farcical, you could see the rollers the buffalos were on more clearly than the buffalos themselves. The scene was dull, overlong and this could be attributable to the behind the scenes view. During the river scene, the fish were not visible but the people holding the cutouts and the lights very definitely were. And of course the pad on which the character jumped on when he jumped in the river was quite quite obvious for the whole piece.
I took my mother along, who is hard of hearing and she actually asked over her G&T at the interval if there was going to be music during the show. It wasn't that bad, but the sound was poor. Most of the performers sounded desperately flat and the music was more painful than tuneful.
Sounds like I hated it, I didn't, it was good and the animals were lovely. BUT, there was an arrogance associated with selling tickets to something which was clearly substandard. As with all things you have to get it in perspective, I booked late and the seats were way back. One can accept and expects that. Its a bit like having fish and chips in Livebait or having them from the caravan at Clacton. I paid £30 for the seat via Lastminute.
The show was good and I expected to be a long way from the stage but I really didnt expect to be so aware of the way the show was put together. I was very unimpressed by the complete lack of staging for the Upper Circle.
Would certainly recommend not to go to Upper Circle. Seats may be cheaper but they are still a lot of money and these 'errors' reduced my enjoyment considerably.
Saw the show on 21 September 2003 - what a show! The opening in particular just blew you away.
My son who is 3 1/2 just sat there never taking his eyes off the stage, although he did have to keep checking with mummy who the characters were. He was a bit apprehensive about seeing the hyenas beforehand but when they appeared he loved them. Mind you I could hear some other kids around the auditorium who obviously were a bit scared.
We sat on the 2nd row. Possibly might have got a better overall view from the dress circle but you certainly felt part of the show being so near.
Ignore the bad reviews, go see it.........NOW!
The kids enjoyed it, as for myself I found the whole thing very boring and was disappointed. It has been over rated.
Never have I seen such amazing staging! The floor seems to literally move from beneath the actors feet as large portions of set and even characters rise from the stage. What an awe inspiring sight that gives you goose pimples and a lump in your throat!
Not only does the musical embody the same score as the film but also adds new African rhythms and fresh new songs that take the magic of Disney's biggest success to a whole new and even better level.
The costume design for this show is also something not to be missed. Humans are turned into animals not by fury costumes or plastic masks but by using clever puppetry and tribal costume from the African Pridelands.
Do not miss the Lion King! This is a must see for first time theatre goers to because once you have seen this you'll want to go to the theatre every day.
Maybe some people have been disappointed with this show because it is so incredibly hyped in the media. I went in almost expecting to be physically trampled in the stampede and scared to death by roaring lions. Of course this doesn't happen. But it is amazing theatre.
A vast imagination has gone into creating the African creatures and landscape on stage, whilst not hiding the actors who manipulate them. Occasionally the immensity of the design elements does drown out the performances, but this is to the credit of Julie Taymor, not an insult to the actors.
I had a perfect view from the centre of row F in the Royal (first) circle. Worth paying top price for.
The show HAS been adapted for the stage. Much of the script is recognisable from the film, but the new songs are equally credible and add a new dimension to the stage version - managing to find a perfect balance between the familiar 'cartoon' style and the dramatic 'African' atmosphere. I definitely came away wanting more. Go see it!
My family and I went to see the show on Wednesday 2nd June 2004. We liked it very much and especially my kids (9 and 11 years old) really enjoyed it. I would probably did if I haven’t get the conductor‘s head in front of me (seat A9).
Well I wasn't planning to see this one until I decided to stay in London with a mate for an extra night and wandered up to the Lyceum to see what I could get. I had the choice of a seat at 40 quid or stand for 10, so I opted for the cheaper ticket. WHAT A BARGAIN!! I stood in 'position 17' at the back of the Upper Circle and had a marvelous view of the stage.
After bribing a small boy with a pound to use his binoculars I was able to stand back and watch the fantastic big set pieces that make this show so good unfold before my natural view, and when solo songs and speaky bits happened I could zoom in and look at the faces in detail. The only draw back from the standing tickets are that you are not close to all the stalls action that happens but you still see it all and you have to join in the applause simply for the arrival of the animals.
Stunning costumes and brilliant choreography make this show a sure fire winner for anyone. The staging and lighting is rather fine too. As a grown adult I did find some of the speaky bits rather twee, but I am not complaining as it certainly entertained the little'uns. The show is fab and thats all I can say really.
However here is my word of warning: It is inevitable that when standing you may be next to annoying Japanese girls who don't understand ' no photos' and talk to one another a lot. Be firm with them and, if they don't shut up, make the ushers do some work. Also, due to the cheap (well cheaper) seats being at the back....school groups are inevitable. This cannot be helped so there is nowt you can do. But my overall impression is that for a tenner you get a great view of a great show. a true spectacle and something really nice to stare at when you have been on the loopy juice the night before.
7th July 2004: "Lion King" continues its high standards - visual epics and invention.
It was my second time seeing this, and wow what a show! Sitting in the stalls normally is not my first choice - I prefer the Dress Circle - but for "The Lion King" I think the stalls are great as the action part takes place in the stalls aisles; so in many ways you are in fact in the show "in the thick of it", as they say.
When in the stalls I would not normally go for Row A as it means a neck ache during and after, but with the "Lion King" the Row A is set back a little due to the fact that the Orchestra pit is large and comes out a good few feet.
Theatremonkey seating plan says A9 is not good due to the view of the conductor but seated just one seat to the side of this I could not see this as being a major problem. The head of the conductor is in view for all Row A and B seats in the centre section for some part, but it's not too bad.
The show is great - follows the Disney film (very good) - and the cast really do come across as if they are the animals playing out the parts on stage. The effects and technical ability of the "Lion King" shows that it's backed by and had a lot of money put into this show by Disney.
Value? - Yes sort of, I think so. After all, a top price seat is now £45(plus booking fee) and some shows without the major name of Disney are £55 for a Saturday night now.
It's been going 5 years now and still playing to packed full houses, If you ask me, "should you see it?" I'd say yes and take your children too if they will not be scared by the larger animals on stage.
Performance: Saturday 14th Aug 2004, 7.30pm.
Seats : Stalls A 6,7,8
Over-hyped, over-priced and over here. Frankly, it is enjoyable, even delightful as a £25 show to take your children, nieces and nephews out for a special treat. The show became annoying because it was completely aimed at the younger audience_ one or two risqué jokes brought knowing laughs from audience members over 6 years old but there was not much there for adults.
Having said that the animals and staging are brilliant. The best scenes are when there are groups onstage singing and dancing. The worst scenes are of the boring Simba - young and old. In fact, Simba gets worse with age. The young Simba could not hold a tune if his dreadlocks depended upon it and in fact the sound quality was consistently poor when individual characters were speaking or singing on stage. The best characters were the old lady and the young lioness, who gave powerful performances. The rest was average and only saved by the colour and vibrancy of the production which is infectious!
In seats Stalls F 31 and 32 - restricted views at £32.50, I was quite happy that I had not paid full price and managed to see much of the performance.
7th November 2004
We were in Row V on an aisle. It was my first ever trip to the theatre and I had a great time. The show was a bit slow in a couple of places but the effects/costumes etc made up for it for me.
I took my sons aged 9 and 10 to see The Lion King at Easter 2005. Fantastic show. Great music, superb opening scene and excellent singing. Not a dull moment. Fantastic special effects. We sat in the middle of Row Q which I would definitely recommend.
Three generations of my family were blown away by this terrific production!!!! The costumes, the music and the performances were all awesome, far more than we could have hoped for.
Our seats were perfect in the centre of Row F Royal Circle, 17, 18 and 19.
The amazing effects of a buffalo stampede on stage and the birds flying all over the venue, actors joining us on the Royal Circle, elephant sized elephants walking down the aisle, giraffe sized giraffes too, and a stage set that moves around so smoothly, I need to see it again to try and take all that in!
I paid top whack for the seats to treat my 70 year old mum and 14 year old son but in total with travel and hotel it came to just under £400 and I would say even THAT was worth it.
It should be made compulsory to go see it.
I had bough the tickets for this show for my partner as a Christmas present so we had had the tickets for 6 months. I had seen the show and loved it and he was eagerly looking forward to it as we had enjoyed our foray into the World of Disney in Florida last year.
Our tickets were just off the aisle in the stalls centre block on row E, well what a fantastic view we had!! Lots of legroom and a perfect view. The opening number is breathtaking with the rising sun and all the animals arriving on stage and down the aisles. The costumes and staging are so good that the opening number is quite moving.
To turn an 80 minute children’s cartoon film into a full-blown musical is an achievement in itself, but to do it in such an inventive way, and for it to still maintain its own identity, is all down to its creator, Julie Taymor. The staging is so imaginative and its great that they didn’t revert to the "cuddly animal outfits" as they could so easily have done.
We both thoroughly enjoyed this evening of pure Disney magic. The whole production is very colourful and the animals superbly represented. All the performances were excellent and there were some lovely voices on stage but special mention goes to the actress playing Rafiki as she was very funny and portrayed her character very well.
We both agreed that this was an excellent show and we had had a marvellous time revisiting our childhoods!! We would definitely see the show again and are planning to take our 3 nieces to see it as they would love it.
Messrs Colin and Asa Mccarthy-Burton
Wow! Outstanding, the costumes, rhythm, energy ensured that we had a fantastic time! The African chants added atmosphere and the performance was mesmerising. No complaints.
I went on Wednesday 10th May 2006 to see "The Lion King" and it was fabulous. The costumes were very vibrant and the singing was excellent. My view from Row C in the Dress Circle was great and at one point I also had a cast member singing near me!!! The acting and singing was incredible and the energy was superb. It's a must see show and I was sad when it ended. Full of little surprises here and there, the show is the best I have ever seen!!!!!!!!!!!!
We sat in seats 33 and 34, row A of the Upper ( top) Circle. These are marked as partially restricted view ( lowest price ) because they have a rail in front of them. We just leaned on the ( dirty) rail , and the view was perfect, though high up. Not worth it to buy any other seats in the same level at a more expensive price because we had the same view as everyone else . From reading the reviews, it seems as though the viewers who sat in the stalls had a better impression of the play than I did at the top. From up there, we could see layers of dirt and dust on all the wall stucco ornaments and the whole thing looked very shabby. The velvet on the rail was torn to pieces. The show itself was good, though the singing was not spectacular.
I think I had my hopes up for a spectacular show and was let down a little by my expectations. All in all a good night out, though I will not be going to see it again.
We have just seen the Lion King. Oh dear what a disappointment, the theatre monkey's review is about right. Only worth seeing for the visual effects. Incidentally, do they ever dust the decor at the theatre?
Richard of Newbury
We saw the Lion King last week (February 2007), and it was just terrible compared with the first time we saw it about two years ago. Visually the costumes and the scenery looked great, and we couldn't see any problems with dust or general upkeep of the theatre as other reviewers have mentioned (at least where we were in the stalls).
It was the performance itself that was really lacking. The lead actors were all different to last time and we found it impossible to warm to them, even when we were able to hear what they were saying. The quality of the singing surprised us too, particularly Simba's Dad and uncle. The big ensemble songs left us amazed last time we saw it, but we got the feeling on this occasion that the whole cast was simply going through the motions.
We had real problems hearing the words in a lot of the songs and even during the spoken scenes the actors were either too quiet (usually) or deafening. I asked one of the ushers if there was a sound problem and she said that this was how it usually was. We wondered whether we were alone in this, but after speaking to our neighbours in the interval they too said they had trouble making out the words.
It was a real shame as we were all looking forward to seeing this show again. It shows how much a show can change, and at almost £200 for the four of us we felt we deserved more than this worn-out old show. I'd recommend 'Mary Poppins' or even 'Sound of Music' over this experience.
We have just got back from London after seeing 'The Lion King' on 10th April 2007. I found this production almost faultless and don't agree with any of the negative remarks posted here. I'm very particular about sound quality and performance, but apart from Mustafa's voice being a bit quiet in parts, this was an absolutely excellent show - full of colour, enthusiasm, fun, movement and great songs and was well worth the money.
The techniques used to bring the animals to life are superb and the whole production was very atmospheric. I recommend getting seats as close to the front as possible to really appreciate this show. We were in Row H of the stalls which was perfect. You don't need a great book to create a great show and 'The Lion King' is a fine example of this. It's a fantastic show and great fun for adults and children alike - highly recommended!
I took two coaches to Lion King about 4 years ago and we sat in the Stalls about 1/3rd back from the stage which was perfect. It was electric, vibrant, and exciting. Most of the group really liked it, some thought it the best show they had ever seen. We liked it so much we had to take our grandchildren . It cost an arm and a leg but we had stall seats on the left side and the look on our six year old grand-daughters face at her first London theatre show when the elephant walked past was worth the ticket price on it's own. It was even more magical than the first time and the perfect days outing for us, a day that will stand out in our memories as one of the best ever.
Yesterday (June 2007) I saw the show again, sitting in the back of the Dress Circle. The seats in row L are comfortable and there is sufficient leg room for even me at 6' 2" but we were so far from the stage we couldn't see faces or expressions and the public involvement with the action is only for those in the stalls so you feel deprived in the circle. When you are quite close in the stalls you can make yourself look at the characters heads and believe in them. From the back of the circle you are mainly aware of the actor working the character which is not the same. At times I lost attention and even felt a little bored, however I put it down to the thought that you can't repeat a perfect experience and we did not have the best seats as we did before so there really was no comparison.
However on reading some of the comments on this website it seems many other felt the same as me in that some of the singing was not great (rather on the harsh side) and the jokes have been gone through so many times that they have lost their humour. I got the feeling they were just going through the motions yet again.
Perhaps it is just one of those shows that you should only see once (or twice in our case) and perhaps it is mainly the repeat customers who don't enjoy it as much as the first time. I don't think it lends itself to repeats in the way that Les Mis, Chicago, or The Sound of Music do .
I do have enough people who want to see Lion King to take a coach party again, so perhaps I should just book it and let them make up their own mind but I do think it has perhaps run it's course - though I hope my group will prove me wrong.
Went to the 30th of June 2007 evening performance of 'The Lion King,' and after all the praise I had heard for it was extremely disappointed. We were in Upper Circle row M seats 36 to 39 and the view was fine.
The lad playing Young Simba was dreadfully out of tune at some points and was drowned out by the audience at some points. A lot of the other actors/actresses were drowned out as well, apart from Rafiki, who had an absolutely amazing voice.
Found the effects pretty bad after all I had heard. Not sure if something went wrong during Mufassa's death but it just looked stupid, if you hadn't seen the film you wouldn't have known he fell from a rock. He ran up to it and just stood there and lifted his arm up. Scar then appeared and Mufassa just ran into the middle of the thing and fell. Must say the costumes were very clever, although didn't like the Timon costume as I felt the bright green distracted from the puppet.
Good for young kids, but just not my thing.
Saw 'The Lion King' on Saturday 21st July 2007, matinee performance. This is the third time I’ve seen the show and thought it was still magical. The performances were great – all the lead characters were spot on. No problems with sound at all.
We sat in the stalls Row A seats 13, 14 and 15. I felt a little sorry for the lady in A12 who did have the conductor’s head in her way. The main issue with being so close is that you miss some of the “low-down” action e.g. when the characters are lying down or crouching. I also saw the stage hands 3 or 4 times which wasn’t good!! If I went again, I would sit in the centre stalls about 6 to 10 rows back.
Saw this on Thursday 23rd August 2007. Sat in seats J11 and 12 in the stalls. Excellent seats. Great legroom, superb view and you are next to the aisle in the centre block which means the animals parade past you at various points in the performance. Once again Theatremonkey's green seat recommendation is spot on. There really is only one place to see this show and that is from the stalls.
One moan - 4 bottles of beer (one each before the performance one each for the interval) £16!! Obscene! How can they justify charging that? Having already paid £55 each for seats that is just disgusting - although I know that all West End theatres continue to rip off their audiences with drink prices.
Also another word about the theatre - we both thought it was in top condition although I have never sat in either circle so I can't comment about them.
What can I say! Took a friend of mine who has never seen a West End show and she was blown away by the costumes and the sheer ingenuity of the animals.
This was my seventh visit having seen it in London and on Broadway. This was the best performance I have ever seen of this show. The whole thing was flawless. From the start when Africa is brought vividly and brilliantly to life, through the songs with wonderful singing and the African chants which add so much to the show itself and finally the end when Simba reclaims his kingdom - for the first time was in tears at the end. The company really were on top of their game. In particular the actress playing Rafiki was incredible - both presence, performance and voice. Timon and Pumba were the funniest I have ever seen them - Timon in particular. Saw the understudy for Scar who was excellent.
The opening when you see the giraffes for the first time and the moment Mufasa's face appears during 'He Lives In You' during the second act made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. It was as mesmerising as always. The advertising says there is nothing else like it and that is so true. A fantastic theatrical experience.
Saw the show on Thursday 20th December 2007. Seats H7 and H8 were fine.
Really enjoyed the imagination on display, costumes etc, and the "African" songs and singing. But why does the theatre employ a deaf sound engineer? Without exception the sound system distorted the singer's voices in every single song, particularly when they get to the bit where they like to belt the number out (and every one of EJ's songs has a moment like this!). Worst of all, this means that you can hardly hear a word of the Time Rice's lyrics. What a pity!
One reader notes that,
" I just can't get over the way you are processed through the souvenir shop at the Lyceum (for the Lion King). It's a major mine field if you have children, or even worse, some one else's children who are just pester agents."
Worth knowing, thinks the monkey, who suggests blindfolds might be a solution!
2008. This was my fourth visit to "The Lion King," and without doubt will be my last. As others have mentioned, the whole thing is looking so tired, they really need a cast change or something. It was such an amazing show when I first saw it a few years ago as it really did leave you spellbound; now, I'm afraid, only leaves you housebound!!
The actors say their lines far too fast - which means you miss some of the jokes - and they all have an air of 'oh hell, do we really have to do this again!!' The audience weren't responding to any of the jokes (probably due to reasons already mentioned) and could barely raise a hand to clap after each of the musical numbers, which I think is a crying shame and in such contrast to what I've seen before. With tickets hitting £60, I feel that audiences going along now are not getting the value for money as those in recent years. It's time for an overhaul... and soon!!
One other point, which I couldn't fail to notice, was the actor who played Scar obviously had problems. He kept spraying everybody within 20 feet with spittle and when he was up on his ledge above the stalls (thankfully the other side of the stage to me) almost drowned the entire first few rows of the stalls as gallons of the stuff was pouring out of his mouth. It was absolutely vile (I say with a rather sinister smile on my face).
We were sat in row B seats 8 and 9, which I feel is too close for this particular production as you get to see all the workings close up and all the fed up tired looking faces of the cast and all the puppets which are falling apart; as well as a chance of getting a shower thanks to Scar (I wondered why the conductor was wearing a shower cap!!) Talking of the conductor, I'm also glad I wasn't sat further along the row towards the centre because my view would have been obstructed by the rather large head of the man himself, complete with Tina Turner hair do!!
I hope someone puts some life back into it again because this was once the 'cream of the crop' and fear it will start sliding towards the pit of closure given the current climate in theatre land.
Sorry, I hate moaning about stuff!!
I would like to say that "The Lion King" was absolutely Brilliant!!!!, Real nice costumes, real good act!!! A show you mustn’t miss - and is all good for Kids and Adults. I know the food prices and drinks are high in London, (obviously it is Covent Garden) and therefore I did equip myself with goodies and snacks from the shop across the street...
Well, hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!!!!
I went to see 'The Lion King' on the 27th August 2008 at the matinee performance. I don't get all the fuss is about. It's not the most amazing thing I've ever seen, but it still is good. I don't think I'd see it again, mainly because of the reason I think there is much better West End going on at the moment that I'd rather see them again. However, having said that I do think the effects are incredible.
The whole cast dressed up as animals is beautiful and so clever, especially in the beginning. I think this is it's good point, because personally the songs are not the best, and not very catchy, but the storyline I think does work. But I never liked the film, so maybe I hold grudges. I do think the costumes and scenery are the strongest of points. The cast is talented, but the songs don't show off the best of their abilities.
Being based on Disney, it is almost childish where the song about 'No worries' comes on. My maturity is showing. And also that reminds me, two kids starting running around during the middle of the performance. Fortunately the Usher had a word with the parents. However, after all my negative points, I did enjoy it. But my sister (who saw it a few years ago) was disappointed that it is not my favourite show, as it is hers. I only went to see it because she keeps going on about it. Everyone has to see it at least once to male their own opinion as it is a very mixed view show. It does have lots of humour in it, but again other West End show prove better.
I sat in the GRAND CIRCLE Row L seats 28 and 29. I think the price is very very good for these seats, especially as they're in the middle and you can see everything. Although in the stalls you get the cast walking right by you so you feel more included. But as I'm not the biggest fan, I think these are the best seats as the view hardly changes in the grand circle where ever you sit and they're the cheapest. The leg room is good, but be a bit careful if you're 5ft 7 and above, because it can be a little uncomfortable.
So if I didn't put you off, get your tickets (the cheap ones) because you could be disappointed and I wouldn't want you to waste your money if that happened!
I went to see "The Lion King" for the second time with my nephew and nieces on Sunday 23rd November 2008, and it was absolutely fantastic. The costumes, acting, songs, and theatrical performances were superb. Contrary to what I was expecting this time round, the current cast delivered what I’ll describe as a flawless production. The kids absolutely enjoyed it, and at one stage to my embarrassment and to everyone else’s annoyance, they joined in the singing to the tunes of 'Ha Kuna Matata.'
My only criticism was that the gift shop, which was a tad overpriced - what did I expect, you may ask! Still we are living through a very unsympathetic recession. ;)
Nevertheless a brilliant production and I can only recommend every man, woman and child to go and see this production and assimilate the beauty of artistry genius.
Also don’t forget to take good company with you, it gives it that extra fun factor.
Miss Ugo from London
The monkey advises checking performance times on your tickets and that performances are happening as scheduled, before travelling.
Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30 pm
Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30 pm
Sunday at 2.30pm only
Runs 2 hours 45 minutes including a 20 minute interval.
Theatres use "dynamic pricing." Seat prices change according to demand for a particular performance. Prices below were compiled as booking originally opened. Current prices are advised at time of enquiry.
A very wide variation, by both performance date and dependent on demand for tickets at the time, means that pricing changes too rapidly to set out a full list. The diagrams show the most common price layouts, and are available here. Actual prices will be confirmed at the time of purchase - see Ambassador Theatre Group or www.thelionking.co.uk for details.
Expect to pay between £129.50 and £47.50 at "off peak" performances, from £170 to £55 at weekends, and £197.25 to £57.50 at "peak" times. The earlier you book, for the least popular dates (outside school holiday periods), the lower prices are likely to be.
"Day Seats:" A very limited number (quantity and location at box office discretion) are available to personal callers at the box office each morning, priced £25 each. May be limited to 1 or 2 tickets per person. The monkey always advises taking both cards and cash in case one is preferred over the other. Check with the box office before travelling if this policy is still in operation. Other offers may be also be made, at box office discretion, this includes standing room in the Upper Circle, priced £20, sold once the theatre is full.