It started out as a movie, one that most of you born in the 80’s would have watched. A movie which taught us about family, love and courage. The movie, which has now been remade into a musical performance, The Lion King.
As “The Lion King, Musical” comes to a close at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Theatre, I decided to go catch it before it leaves the sunny shores. A broadway musical performance minus the broadway, this would definitely be a new level of musical theatrical experience for me having been involved in a musical several years back and watched musical and theatre performances from time to time.
I was immediately captivated the moment the musical started. The sets and costumes used were beyond belief as I felt as if I was on the movie set itself. From the huge rising sun being rigged to nightfall with starry skies to the hyena’s home. The sets and props were simply spectacular. Elephants making their way through the alleys of the audience and wild animals running on stage, the costumes and props simply took my breath away.
Looking at the elaborate masks adorned by the actors and the costumes that they had to fit themselves in, being involved in this musical was a physical challenge just as much as it is a mental challenge. The cast had to constantly move like animals and remember that they weren’t, humans.
The musical ensemble of modern and traditional instruments were also amazing to listen to. I could only wish that the sound would travel better to fully immerse me into it, but perhaps, this was something beyond control of the cast and crew as it was only using to the best of what they had.
Whilst the performances throughout the entire musical was splendid, it followed the scenes from the movie – this time better as it really felt real. I couldn’t help but feel a little bit disappointed at the end of it as the ending lacked a certain punch. I didn’t leave the theatre feeling all glorified as an animal.
Nonetheless, the technical capabilities of the stage was what wow-ed me the most. The Marina Bay Sands Theatre had I’m not sure how many riggings up there and the stage had several trap doors and could be raised and lowered. The seating arrangement and capacity of the theatre also ensure that audience would be able to have a sense of intimacy with the performance. The seating arrangement was smaller than I thought it’d be, in comparison to Esplanade, Theatre on the Bay.
But here’s my takeaway from watching the musical, performances at Esplanade, Theatres on the Bay suddenly feels like being in school, except on a bigger stage with better technical capabilities.