Peeking behind the curtains at London’s Lyceum Theatre does nothing to diminish the magic of The Lion King.
The world famous musical, running at the Lyceum since 1999, is an absolute masterpiece of family entertainment.
And as breathtaking and stunning as the performance is, the detail that goes into each show is just as mindblowing.
There are costumes painted the exact colour of performers’ skin – elements of design, stage and props that would go unnoticed by 99 per cent of the audience.
The Lyceum stage isn’t all that big, so it’s a triumph of engineering to conjure up a Pride Rock that plays host to the most emotive moments in the show.
Don’t expect a live replica of the film. There is new material, new music, sly nods in the direction of at least one modern Disney classic, laugh out loud comedy and actors who add something extra to the characters we’ve all loved so much since we met them in 1994.
The way the performers merge with their animal characters is largely down to Julie Taymor’s mastery of puppetry.
And at times it’s immersive and overwhelming, as singers bound down the aisles and drummers hammer out African beats from the boxes.
In terms of stand out performances, you can’t help but be impressed with the child stars, the cheetah – who moves as one with her puppet – and Rafiki, played by a woman who portrays the mandrill as a somewhat belligerent yet lovable African lady.
Over 13 million theatre goers have been entertained by The Lion King, and you’d do well to add yourself to that throng, it’s well worth a visit to the capital.
If you’re making a visit down south purely for the show, or turning it into a special occasion, the One Aldwych Hotel is in the prime location and offers genuine luxury.
Less than a lion’s leap from the Lyceum, One Aldwych is a five star hotel that takes its food and drink as seriously as its service.
Nothing, seemingly, is too much trouble for the staff – even arriving 45 minutes before the show across the road is due to start and pleading to be fitted into the stylish restaurant for two swift courses.
With gluten free and dairy free menus, sensational food and an army of charming waiting staff, it’s a perfect pre-theatre treat.
And to finish the night the Lobby Bar serves up cocktails that resemble science experiments and taste like exquisite potions.
There are worse places to stumble into the morning after the night before than Covent Garden, too.
For most it won’t be an inconsiderable outlay for a night’s stay, but you will get what you pay for, and some.
What you won’t have to pay for is some of the hotel’s experiences, part of their Summer Urban Retreat.
Drinks receptions, live music, films in a private 30-seater screening room, yoga lessons and a 90-minute guided tour of Covent Garden will all be on offer to guests from July 14 to September 11.
To book a stay online visit www.onealdwych.com or call 020 7300 1000.