Emma, Jenny, Nicky and I went to the performance of the Lion King in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre or as I rather call it, the Grand Canal Theatre last night. We chose that show because there was an audio description facility. This meant that we were each given a small headset with the exception of Emma of course so that we could hear descriptions of the activity on stage. Audio description of this type of show is brilliant as obviously, although the music is the primary focus, the plot is almost equally as important and without the audio description many of the subtleties such as movements, scene changes and gestures can be lost leading to a less than fulfilling understanding of what’s going on. This was probably the first time I’ve ever enjoyed a musical as much and it’s in no small part due to the fact that I was able to keep up with the plot so easily. Of course, one of the other reasons is that the music and the story line in the Lion king are so good! The music and the musicians that performed it just couldn’t be better.
I really liked that although the story line was rigidly followed, as it should have been, the cast related to the audience and broke away from the story line in two obvious parts. The first was when the character Zazu made a joke that the stage curtains were like a bad ikea shower curtain. The second time that they really diverted from the story line was during one of the last scenes where Simba is beginning to fight back for his kingdom. He tells Timon and Pumba to create a diversion. They offer to wear drag and dance to river dance. At that, they come back on stage dressed up in Irish dancing costumes dancing to the main river dance theme. Both diversions were absolutely hilarious and they really helped to encourage the audience.
The singers and performers were absolutely astonishingly good. African songs seem incredibly difficult to sing but they did it flawlessly. The character of Rafeeky completely blew me away. Her range and skill was nothing less than an ultimate pleasure to listen to.
You know that music is good when you feel cold all over while sitting in a really hot room. For many of the performances last night I was freezing. I would definitely go to another rmusical again. Especially if they are as well described as the Lion King was last night.