Wednesday, March 29, 2006

# Lion King Musical

17.50 pounds for front seat in stalls! I can't believe it!

I finally watched the musical of Lion King! I have wanted to watch this for so long, but the exorbitant ticket price is a huge barrier. Now, with nearly a 50% discount off the original price GBP32.50, we got our 17.50-pounds-last-minute-price (we went early in morning to get the last-minute-leftover seats). Yippee!!!

We bought the tickets at 10am, but the show will only start at 2pm. While waiting for the show, we decided to loiter around Covent Garden... and that accidentally started my shopping spree. (what have i done?!)

We went to a few shops which sell sportswear and travel accessories, and some bookstores. I am very sure I am NOT a shopping-type person (dignified voice), but I think I just went into a shopping-mode today. Results:
* Compact Tripod 340mm-1100mm for 10.95 pounds
* Polycarbonate bottle for 3.75 pounds
* Fleece Jacket for 29.75 pounds.
* Sandwich cool bag for 1 pound.
* 2nd hand book for 2.49 pounds

Holy cow! In less than 2 hours I spent more than what I normally spend on non-necessities in A MONTH! hmm.. perhaps if I treat the bottle, cool bag & jacket as necessities, it wouldn't look too bad... and if treating the tripod as a long-term investment, calculate its lifelength, depreciation and scrap value... sigh, i m just trying to justify my over-expenditure.

oops, enough digression.

Back to Lion King. The theatre itself is a wonder. Lyceum Theatre is opened in 1834, and has a three-tiers seating plan instead of the normal two-tiers one. As we were sitting in our seats, I couldn't help admiring the detailed architecture designs in every pillar, wall and ceiling. The interior of the theatre is as grand as its exterior!

Just beneath (I hope the proposition is correct) us is the orchestra stall. Before the show started, the musicians are already there tuning and readying. (reminds me of moody somehow) Kids sitting nearby were excited that they kept the conductor busy with their endless questions. They even asked for a demonstration, which the violinist graciously obliged. Even the cute old lady sitting beside me is as excited as the kids, she's read the book three times, and she believed this will be the best musical she would love. She kept me busy too, hehe, with her keeping losing her gloves and scarf. sweet. :-)

The beginning of the show is just spectacular! As the animals emerged from the BACK of the theatre, marched down the aisles and up onto the stage, the crowd went wild. Sitting in the front row sure has its perks, we observed not only the details of the ornaments, costumes and gadgets, but also the face expressions of the actors. And when they caught our eyes, some of them even winked. I have to say I felt so excited, it's like I am a child again.

The costume and the props are the best among all the musicals I have seen. Imagine designing all sorts of animal costumes, gadgets and scenes in jungles. The lush green jungle, the dry shadowland, the elephant grave, the stampede scene, the night, the dawn... Every scene was done with such painstaking detail. The stage itself is a fun thing to observe, many unexpected creatures would just pop up from the concealed trapdoor on the floor, and the stagefloor can be elevated for certain scenes.

I have to give credits to these 2 creatures specifically. The giraffes and the leopard. The giraffes are so good in controlling their balance, singing and dancing all at the same time. and the leopard-lady did a fabulous job in making her leopard look so real! the movements are just so smooth and real. These two non-leading creatures are my favourites in the show.

As I observed the music, dancing and special effects, I couldn't help noticing the blend of various cultures into the musical. While the African culture is the dominant one, there are a lot of elements of other cultures. Asian culture is appearing very often - bamboo poles for the birds props like the chinese do with their kites, japanese-like set up during the struggle of Sinba to find his destiny, and even our "wayang kulit" in some scenes! The music too potrayed various genres from traditional african music to electrifying rock and roll...

Another enjoyable experience is to observe the various expressions of the actors, CLOSE UP. We can see every single line on their faces, and noticed how deeply they put themselves in the story. Looking down, the orchestra team was doing their best too. Every thud and squeak was precise, and the music moves people to tears.

The props, the music, the dancing, the storyline... everything was just great! Given a chance, I would definitely watch this again. I will bring my dad next time when he comes for my graduation. :-)

Ok, just before I end this, here is a character I like. She's funny, she's expressive, she's bouncing up and down on the stage!

Guess who she is?

.... The Baboon! If not because of her walking stick, I wouldn't have recognized her, haha..

(NOTE: All pictures are taken from websites. We are not allowed to take photographs in the musical.)


Pandabonium said...

Wow! I'm happy for you. That's an experience you will never forget. Nothing like live performances. To me, watching a musical on DVD or listening to recorded music is like looking at a photo of your favorite foods - maybe nice, but no comparison to the real thing!

The sets and costumes look cool.

I used to like to play in "pit" orchestras for musicals - high school, college, community theater, etc. But several performances each time were enough. I've known professional musicians who played for hit musicals every night for a few years. I think I'd go crazy. :P

Anyway, thanks for sharing the experience. It must have been great fun.

klumikz - yiddish for maladroit.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Ah, musicals. Like Pandabonium, I've played in my share of pit orchestras, and I've also been up on stage in a couple. (Yes, I was a member of the cast and was supposed to be there!) I've only seen one professional musical theater performance, and it was Japanese (and, though it was performed for the benefit of our students, it turned out to be rather raunchy, I might add...).

Lion King...ahhh....I'm turning GREEN!!!!!!!!

Careful, YD. It sounds like your female shopping instincts are starting to kick in. You'd better go watch a ball game on the TV, preferably with beer and nuts, to bring them back under control.

YD said...

nice! we've got a couple of pit orchestra musicians here! i sure do feel proud knowing both of them! :-)

the sets are cool! The cast too! We were totally immersed in the story.

Hehe, panda, i'd have gone crazy too if I were to do repetitive work evyerday... (hm... but isn't that almost everyone is doing everyday? i wonder..) I think there are a few kids actor and actress to take turn to work in different plays, to adhere to the child labour law. For example, "Billy Elliot" has 3 boys for the main character. I wonder how many Lion King uses...

and yes, it has been a ROAARRRIINGGG GREAT FUN! ROAR~!

Moody, yes I am worried about that instinct surfacing too! but surprisingly none of the things I bought is lady like.. geez i think i m a weird species. help me.

oh yeah, we did have some Fosters and some peanuts, but the show we were watching were "Mapp & Lucia" (There will be another post on Tilling, where the story is based one. Tilling is a fictionous name, its real name is Rye, a pleasant little town we went, and fell in love with, last week.)

Pandabonium said...

I would say your spending binge was not instinct, but rather cultural immersion. Not particular to Britain, but to consumerist habits in many countries around the world.

Musicals can be exciting. I'll never forget the night a rather hefty member of the cast of one musical (forget which) was doing a dance and fell into the orchestra pit, shattering a very expensive violin. Luckily there were no serious injuries.

Happysurfer said...

Hi YD, Wow! That must have been a really memorable day for you - shopping and the musical. The giraffes do look impressive.

Of late, there have been lots of musicals being staged in KL and "Grease" is next in line.

@ロウ 。LOW@ said...

Reminds me of Kabuki theater -- those all-male actor and stunning spinning stage -- no camera, can't do anything!

But everyone who have been there knows it's a fantastic experience. All live performances are.

Unless some lion break into the crowd in the middle of circus show...:p

The Moody Minstrel said...

I'll bet if a circus did feature a lion turned loose into the crowd, people would pay more to see it.

People tend to be so bloodthirsty...