I’m still trying to work out whether my children completely and utterly hoodwinked me this year on my birthday. They had all been wanting to go and see The Lion King musical at the Lyceum Theatre for ages – collectively it’s our family favourite, but I kept telling them I couldn’t afford to take them all – London theatre tickets are very expensive in general and so we had delayed the plan.
So imagine my surprise and delight when my two oldest children made me a voucher saying that my present was going to be a ticket to the Lion King for my birthday – I was very touched. Perhaps I should have called their bluff and gone by myself, but they know me too well and that was never going to happen.
So I went ahead and booked all four tickets, assuming that I would be paying for my youngest son’s ticket and that the older two would cover their own and mine. But no, of course post Christmas no one has any money left and that wasn’t really their intention anyway – they were paying for mine and I was paying for theirs! I suspect that was the most expensive birthday present I have ever inadvertently bought – but I’m not complaining really, because you simply can’t put a price on evening’s out like that with your children – experiences are the way forward as your kids get older and mainly they are never going to be cheap.
They suggested meeting at this new Sri Lankan restaurant in Frith Street called Hoppers which they had heard about. Well worth it, exceptionally good food and a lovely relaxed vibe – I would highly recommend it – the flavours were amazing and you can tell it’s popular because there always seems to always be a queue to get in and you can’t book a table.
The photos don’t do the food justice – but that bowl that the curry is going into is edible and is what they call a Hopper in Sri Lanka – a bowl shaped pancake:-
The Lion King musical even after 20 years is still so uplifting and wonderful. We all loved the show from the moment the evocative rhythms of Africa started with the spine-tingling music we all know and love, sung by Gugwana Dlamini who plays Rafiki the Baboon. She has the most unbelievable voice and plays the part with such character – truly amazing. I’m pretty sure we saw her in that role almost 20 years ago and luckily for us she has recently returned. She was on the original soundtrack of the Disney film in 1994 and her voice is just as beautiful now.
Then down come the animals along the aisle and up onto the stage and your spirits are lifted at the spectacle in front of you. It’s spellbinding – wonderful puppetry and extraordinary masks – pure theatrical magic, especially the giraffes and the hyenas. Truly a joy to behold. Just goes to show that a good musical works for all ages – from 6 – 106 because we all loved it.
You all know the story of Simba, Mufasa and Scar and about how good finally conquers evil, the age old story. Everyone in the performance was brilliant – the young Simba and Nala especially. I guess it’s always difficult to manage children’s expectations when family tragedy hits – it’s just so sad! Gets me every time.
Sorry, I’m hopeless at selfies:-
You’re not allowed to take photos during the performance, so this was where we were sitting pre the curtain going up:-
The Lion King production is to embark on a new UK and Ireland tour in 2019, coinciding with 20 years of the musical being in the West End. It’s going to Bradford, Cardiff, Southampton, Manchester and a few other cities yet to be announced, so I would strongly recommend that you get your tickets early. You will so not be disappointed and it works for any age children from my experience!
The musical is heading to the Bristol Hippodrome from 7 September to 23 November, then to the Edinburgh Playhouse from 5 December to 9 February 2020 and then to Cardiff Millenium Centre from 9 July to 29 August 2020. Further venues are to be announced in due course.