I was very impressed. They did an amazing job of creating the illusion of an animal kingdom -- most of the performers were as much puppeteers as actors, and through appropriate accoutrements on dancers they were able to create the illusion of running gazelles, meandering giraffes and elephants, and even the waving grass.
The acting was also most excellent, with particular kudos to the folks who played Zazu, the dodo majordomo (majordodo?) to the various lion kings, and Timon, the meerkat voiced by Nathan Lane in the film. (And the man who played Scar couldn't possibly have been more swishy. *grin*)
John said that you really need to have seen the movie to follow the play. I haven't seen the movie, and I protested rather vociferously. "It's not brain surgery," I said, "it's a Disney movie." I mean, honestly, the story's basically Hamlet with lions -- all that's left is for Tom Stoppard to write Banzai and Shinzu are Dead.
Speaking of Banzai and Shinzu, two of the hyenas, I have to mention the third hyena, Ed, who was magnificent. I love Ed. Ed's my new hero. (He's the hyena whose tongue is consistently sticking out and is the king of slapstick. Great stuff.)
I'm generally the head of the I Hate Disney Club, but this is some phenomenal stuff. I know it's impossible to get tickets, but if you do get the opportunity, go see it.
[First posted on sff.people.krad at SFF.net on 23 October 2000.]
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