Lions, hyenas, giraffes and all manner of exotic African wildlife took to the stage at Careline Theatre’s Academy production of The Lion King Jr on Saturday 5th May. The packed audience of young and old was spellbound by a theatrical spectacle of a quality and standard rarely seen on the Costa Blanca.
A standing ovation rewarded the cast (the youngest was just four!) of this amazing production that also included zebras, antelope, monkeys, flamingoes, elephants, leopards, white birds and wildebeest. A lot of credit must go to Stevie Keen who designed and created the fabulous animal masks and bodies (and who also played the flamboyant hornbill Zazu to perfection). Credit also to Janet Walker for the rest of the costumes, assisted by an army of parents, friends and family doing hair, make-up, painting, glueing and tweaking things.
Based on the Disney classic, and directed by Candida Wright and Suzanna Mace, this a moral tale of good defeating evil. The old king Mufasa (Alan Gill) tries to teach his young son Simba (Daisy Cook) right from wrong. But the evil lion Scar (Paul Young) manages to kill Mufasa by luring him into the path of stampeding wildebeest and trick Simba into running away, leaving his mother Sarabi (Isabelle Borger) distraught. Scar now rules the Pride Lands aided by the laughing hyenas. Simba is taken in and cared for by the wonderfully comic duo of meerkat Timon (Connie Levey) and warthog Pumba (Sophie Phillips). When an adult (Paige Keen), and following the prophecy of the shaman Rafiki (Giovanna Wallis), Simba returns to claim his rightful place as king, and regain the affection of his childhood love Nala (Izabel Noon and Emma Clay).
As always, the musical direction of Roger Dean was spot on, with songs such as The Circle of Life, Can You Feel The Love Tonight, and Hakuna Matata delighting the audience.
Careline Theatre prides itself on being “Amateur Theatre with the Professional Touch” and this had more than a touch, it had it by the bucket full. The story was told with such vigour and enthusiasm it was easy to forget the average age of the cast was probably about twelve.