The Nelson Youth Theatre cast of the Lion King Jr. Photo: Supplied.

Review: The Lion King Jr


Nelson Youth Theatre’s production of The Lion King Jr, Wednesday 17 July at the Theatre Royal. Reviewed by Hugh Neill.

I have just returned home from witnessing what can only be described as a visual feast, “The Lion King.” For a tad over an hour my eyes were on stalks taking in the many amazing costumes, masks and puppets on display on stage, created by what must have been an army of dedicated volunteers.

Reading the programme there must have been a production team of over 100, a cast of 20 plus a host of lionesses, hyenas, meercats as well as specific puppets dressed as a rhinoceros, hippopotamus, giraffe and elephant, to name just a few.

The transition from one scene to the next was seamless, most impressive considering that this was the first performance of the season. The singing was strong and the choreography was simple but effective.

I really enjoyed the set pieces as well, plus the lighting. The stage was uncluttered, particularly important given the cast size and everything worked to perfection. This was true even with the sound, which can be an issue with productions on a limited budget.

I don’t want to single out any particular actor because they were all outstanding, rare for any community theatre production. This would have to be one of, if not the best Nelson Youth Theatre shows that I’ve seen so far, and, believe me, I’ve watched a few.

Finally, last but not least, a big congratulations to Richard Carruthers for his splendid direction.

Well done, one and all, you are all stars and deserve all the praise that you get. The production runs until 20 July and if you haven’t already I urge you to take the family to a show that punches well above its weight. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed.