Published on theMusic.com.au, Nov 2015
There’s something so relatable about The Lion King‘s storyline that no matter how many times you experience it — every heartbreaking moment and uplifting song climax — it’s still somehow able to make an emotional connection. So much so that it wouldn’t be a stretch to think the gentleman that conveniently had to “go to the bathroom” right before Mufasa’s death just couldn’t sit through the pain again. And we don’t blame him.
The Australian stage production of The Lion King has a lot to live up to, not only because of the acclaimed animated classic, but because the musical has been smashing it on Broadway since 1997, performed to millions of spectators, this scribe included.
While it was clear some kinks and inconsistencies were still being ironed out on opening night in Perth, the production as a whole was an engaging and memorable one, if for no other reason than the intricacy and beauty of the ever-moving stage and set.
The original tale is told as usual with additional songs — some hit, some miss — and by the end of it, it’s hard to believe three hours have cruised by, which, by any means, is proof of success. One of a few errors this production made, however, was failing to cast someone with as deep and smoothing a voice as James Earl Jones, who lent his vocal chords to Mufasa in the animation. That’s not to say the actor chosen for the part, Rob Collins, didn’t do a good job, but that this example is one of many tiny inconsistencies that drew away from the overall experience.