Lion King the Musical

We finally saw The Lion King musical last night at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne. We were pretty excited. It was the second musical we went out to see overall (the first one being Miss Saigon in Manila) and the first one in Melbourne.

When we went to get the tickets a few days back, I even asked the ticketmaster if we had to wear formal attire to the theatre. She said we could go in casual just as long as it wasn’t anything indecent. We also decided to buy a pair of binoculars since our allotted seats were way in the back.

We got there half-an-hour before the start of the show. We were reluctant to buy the $20 Lion King programme (and souvenir book) but we figured, it’s possibly our only remembrance of the event. So, I bought one anyway just before we were ushered on to our seats.

We had no idea how far our seats were going to be from the stage before going in. I was pleased to discover that our seats, even though it was in the farthest most row from the stage, wasn’t all that far. I feel that the middle seats we had when we watched Miss Saigon in Manila was farther from the stage than the seats we had last night. That made me feel that the Regent Theatre was a bit small. I’m not complaining though.

It was all good until we actually found our assigned seats. My seat was adjacent this fat old guy, to put it bluntly. I don’t have anything against stout people (heck, I’m one), but my problem was that his arm has nowhere else to go but invade my side of the seat. So, for the duration of the show, I had to lean to the left just so I don’t bump into his arm.

My problem with my seatmate didn’t end there. Twenty minutes into the show, he started to snore! And it was a loud, too. You know, like he was gargling saliva. The funny thing though, whenever a big musical number finishes, he suddenly stops snoring and starts clapping with the rest of us. He even mumbles words of praise as if he was actually watching.

I can’t completely blame him for falling asleep though. I have to admit that there were parts in the show where I got bored as well. There were bits where I felt it just dragged.

For example, in one scene where Simba and Nala met and they were singing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” in the savanna, just before the end of the song, ballet dancers went on stage and danced to the music while Nala and Simba waited on the sidelines for a couple of minutes!

However, even though there were these boring bits, the production was still awesome. I love the execution of the puppetry, particularly those of Timone’s and Zazu’s. Often times I forgot that there was this visible person behind the puppet doing all the singing and talking. It was also amazing to see how they executed the wildebeest stampede. Overall, I was impressed how they simulated all the animals on stage.

Most of the time, I was able to suspend my disbelief with the anthropomorphic animal characters. The only times where this illusion was broken was when the lions used swords to fight. I thought they were supposed to be animals, huh? And the lionesses had cloaks that made them look like women in burqas with lioness heads on top of their heads which distracted me.

The other bit that annoyed me about the show was the weak singing vocal performance of the boy who played the pre-teen Simba. I noticed him sing out of tune in at least a couple of occasions.

Overall, I still recommend this show despite the things I complained about and the ticket price. It was definitely a different experience from watching movies. We’re thinking of watching The Boy From Oz starring Hugh Jackman (aka Wolverine from the X-Men movies) next time.

Published in: on May 4, 2006 at 12:04 pm  Comments (2)