The Lion King
The Lion King is based on half the stories in classical mythology. It is the tale of birth, childhood and eventual manhood of Simba, a young lion cub. The cubs birth is announced in the opening sequence of the song called The Circle of Life. The cub is held over a dramatic ledge of rock and all his future heirs.
As a carefree cub, he just can t wait to be king and spends his days frolicking with his pal Nala. Nala and Simba become close friends and share the same passion for going against what they are told. Simba s Uncle Scar had told Simba one day to look out over the ledge from where they were standing. Scar said to Simba that anything that touches the light is all part of Pride Rock and would become Simba s. Scar said to Simba that anything that touches the light is all part of Pride Rock and would become Simba s when he became King. Simba became curious about a dark patch of land and asked Scar what it was about. Scar warned Simba to never go there because it meant danger.
Soon after the conversation, Simba and Nala went to the dark land, which consisted of elephant bones. While playing, three hyenas noticed the cubs and started giving them trouble. It became obvious that Simba and Nala were in apparent danger and they tried to escape but was not successful. Mufasa bursts into the scene and tells the hyenas to leave his son and Nala alone. The hyenas obey the King s wishes. Mufasa takes Simba aside for a fatherly talk after the incident to tell him about the delicate balance of nature which bonds all animals together and cautions him to prepare for the day when he will be called upon to lead. Mufasa s evil brother Scar hopes that day will never arrive and schemes to do away with the King and Simba so that he can assume the throne for his own tyrannical purposes.
Soon after, Scar and his three hyena sidekicks, Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, lure Simba into the path of a wildebeest stampede in which Mufasa is killed trying to save his son. Scar convinces Simba that he is responsible for his father s death and urges him to run far away from Pride Rock and never return. A frightened and guilt-ridden Simba flees into exile where he is befriended by a wacky but warmhearted warthog named Pumba and his meekrat companion, Timon. Under the guidance of Timon and Pumba, Simba adopts their Hakuna Matata, (no worries) attitude towards life, living on a diet of bugs and taking things one step at a time. The cub matures into a young adult and is able to put the past behind him until a beautiful young lioness, which turns out to be his childhood friend Nala, arrives on the scene. She informs him of the hard times and suffering that have come to Pride Rock under Scars reign and beseeches him to take his place as King. At first, Simba is hesitant saying he cannot go back to what he ran away from. Finally Nala convinces him that he is their only help in restoring Pride Rock.
Upon Simba s arrival back at Pride Rock it is evident that under Scar s ruling, everything, including the animals, will die from starvation. Simba seeks out Scar to challenge him for the title of King. The battle scene that takes place between the two is very violent and threatening. Scar and Simba lash out at each other amongst a fire in the background and in front of all the other animals in the kingdom.
Overall, The Lion King is one of the most memorable, moving and original theatrical productions I have seen in years. The story is told in a manner in which it takes your breath away. The play seduces the audience into seeing what, in reality, is not really there. The Lion King is breathtaking in beauty; the costumes are made with intricate detail. The actors and actresses do a magical job in making you believe they are really the characters. From the singing, to the lighting, to the costumes, to the stage setup, to the story, it is some of the most beautiful and spectacular sites theater can offer. You will gasp at the glory of it again and again. This show is one adults can feast on too. It entails just enough childhood appeal and adult appeal that neither audience will be bored or upset by the performance.
Though the show does include graphic scenes including the hyena attack on Simba, the death of the king, and Simba s mourning of his father s death by sleeping under the paw of his dead father, it does not go overboard with grotesque and drawn out scenes. Your imagination is put to use during the death of Mufasa because you do not actually see him get trampled. Instead, you see a swarm of wildebeest and a cloud of dust along with the disappearance of Mufasa. Children are spared of a brutal bloody death.
The Lion King is for kids and adults of all ages. It takes the appeal of someone in age ranging from five years old to 95 years old. You will laugh, you will cry; you will sing, you will dance. You will come out of the theater feeling like a child again if you are not. It is a primal paradise with breathtaking beauty and scenic ingenuity.