Last night I went to see The Lion King (the musical) at the Montecasino Teatro in Fourways. The show made its debut early June. I was predisposed to like the show because:
1)I liked the movie – Baby has the tape, so we watched it so many times I can say some of the lines.
2)Media reports, and the people I know, all spoke highly of the musical.
I was concerned that having seen the movie too many times might spoil the experience, but I was completely blown away.
It stuck very closely to the original script, but with a strong dose of funny local colloquialism that the audience adored.
Very imaginative, giving theatre-goers a very interesting picture of the forest and the creatures where the events take place.
Beautiful, they unquestionably make the identity of the characters clear. I’m in awe of the performers, who sang, danced and acted while wearing those cumbersome head-dresses and other animal limbs.
Sello Maake Ka-Ncube really shines as Mufasa. I’ve seen some of his theatrical work (The Suit comes to mind) and a lot of him when he was on local soap Generations, but wow! His acting has really matured in the past couple of years.
Buyisile Zama as Rafiki – her voice just blew me away. It was the first time I saw her perform, and it’s a memorable experience. If you sometimes get tired of the kind of garbage the local music industry passes as popular music, do yourself a favour and go listen to this lady, wherever she performs. It will revive your faith that local is indeed lekker.
Mark Rayment as Scar – I think he’s the one actor who has the biggest role in the musical and he made it look so effortless. A very good combination of experience, talent and stamina.
The young Nala was very good, the grown up Nala an excellent singer and dancer. Such grace! The grown up Simba was also very good – had the looks, the voice, the acting talent pulling it together.
My only gripe is with young Simba, who was cute and gambolled like the kitty cat he played, but his voice and acting were not strong enough to carry the show at the same level of excellence as the other actors. I found myself wondering if he was perhaps a bit tired?
My companion recognised Timon (Peter Mashiga) as an old friend from Mafikeng. “How can you tell it’s him under all that green stuff covering him from head to toe?” I whispered. Eventually we checked the programme to confirm. It made us feel like we owned a tiny part of the show.
Our attendance was sponsored by MTN, a local cellphone provider.