REVIEW: The Lion King at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

REVIEW: The Lion King at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

By Catherine Collins.

Last night ( September 14), as the opening scenes of The Lion King at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, transported the audience to an African savanna, with what appeared to be incredible ease, I sat like a child in awe of what I was witnessing. 

Not an easy feat, but this production is truly spectacular from the off.

The Lion King musical, which is based on the 1994 animated film of the same name, made its debut in the USA in 1997. It opened in London in 1999, and has been running ever since. 

It tells the story of Simba, a lion cub who is born to be king of the pride lands, and his struggles to find himself and let go of the past, as he is helped along by his new found friends, Timon the warthog and Pumbaa the meerkat.

The score includes classic film favourites, such as I just Can’t Wait To Be King, Hakuna Matata, Can You Feel the Love Tonight and Circle of Life, alongside a few new additions to mix it up.

The colourful costumes, high-energy choreography and creative set are simply stunning and the puppetry is pure genius and really does have to be seen. 

In fact, the whole cast, and ensemble, are incredible!, from the child actors – Josiah Araba-Coker and Serenna Raphaella-Hunte, who played young Simba and Nala respectively, and their adult counterparts, Stephenson Adern-Sodje and Nokwanda Khuzwayo – to Richard Hurst as Scar, Jean-Luc Guizonne as Mufasa, Matthew Forbes as Zazu, Alan McHale as Timon, and Carl Sanderson as Pumbaa.

And, Nosipho Nkonqa’s portrayal of Rafiki was outstanding.

I even found myself liking the hyenas! 

By the end of the production I found myself questioning where I had been for the last 25 years, and why I hadn’t seen the musical version before – it’s safe to say it’s now firmly in my favourite shows list.

But, if you go, just make sure you take your seats early!

  • The Lion King runs until 15 October 2022, tickets available from: or 02380 711811.
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