Reviewed by Tami Mansfield
The Lion King Jr opened for its second run this year at the Theatre Royal on Monday evening, directed by Richard Carruthers.
This spectacular production features mesmerising lifelike and life-size giraffes created by the talented Megan Birss and Karl and Faye Wulff, a mind-blowing elephant created by Mel Harnetty, hippos, rhinos and more.
The design is faultless. In no order of importance: The lighting design is extremely pretty – stars in the sky, a buttery sun – warm and delightful – that slowly rises upstage, and the glow-in-the-dark elephant graveyard is to die for.
The costumes, masks and set are worthy of the ticket price alone. A highlight is one talented teen actor, playing the villain Scar, the gifted Samuel Clark. Sam makes a full physical and vocal transformation and the result is delicious and jaw-droppingly good.
The music in the Lion King is a winner – written by Elton John and Tim Rice with classic songs such as Can you Feel the Love Tonight and Circle of Life. Music director Melanie Carruthers never disappoints, because the singing is strong and clear as are the harmonies that beautifully fill the theatre.
Manu Wotton has excellent diction as Zazu, Devan Gavin (Timon) and Kiriana Little (Pumba) get big laughs with the audience. Mufasa (Simba’s father) is played by Ben Thomas with great compassion and love and was a big hit with both my kids.
Both young Simba (Jake Beekmeyer) and young Nala (Mia Harnetty) have a joyful relationship on stage and are lots of fun to watch.
The Lion King Jr runs for just one fantastic hour and with an early 6pm start from November 19 – 22 and both a 6pm and 8pm show on Friday.
This production is wonderful family entertainment and not to be missed.