What Sunderland can expect from The Lion King

The Lion King, Disney, UK tour.
The Lion King, Disney, UK tour.
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AS temperatures dipped to finger-numbing levels outside, I was whisked from Scotland’s capital to the plains of the African savanna.

Such is the power of the Lion King you can’t help but become immersed in its world and its characters – despite there being not a human role in sight.

Hands up, I’m not the biggest fan of Disney films. I find them, dare I say it, a tad saccharine. But I was a big fan of this.

It’s a production with grit, passion and panache.

You only have to look at the detail in the hand-sewn corsets worn by the cast, the painstaking attention to detail, to realise that this is a show in which the cast and crew take pride.

And so they should. Each night they assault the audiences’ senses with a kaleidoscope of colour, a rite of passage storyline that soars across cultural boundaries and a majestic score.

There are no big names in the production, but this isn’t a celebrity vehicle. The real star of the show is the costumes which the actors work with in perfect unison, to the point where you often forget there’s a human inside.

They capture the essence of lions, hyenas, giraffes and more beautifully.

Even the smaller roles shine, especially the cheetah as she slinks in a feat of feline-esque movements around the stage, which is saturated in rich African-like lighting.

Though some of the songs are a little forgettable, others including Circle of Life and I Just Can’t Wait To be King, are infectiously good – you expect no less with Elton John and Tim Rice at the helm of music and lyrics.

Despite my cynicism about Disney films, I left feeling uplifted. There’s a reason this show is such a roaring success around the world and now Wearside will get to become part of the fantastical fable.