Simba’s wicked uncle, Scar (Desmond Jegede) plots to usurp Mufasa’s throne by luring father and son into a stampede of wild beasts.
However, Simba escapes, and only Mufasa is killed. Simba returns as an adult (Praise Abimbola) to reclaim his homeland from Scar with the help of his friends Nala (Oshin Eniola), Timon (Okenla Sumisola) and Pumbaa (Osho Olawale).
Being my second favorite Disney Animation of all time, I was equally nervous and excited to see a performance of what I was certain would leave me with a deep yearning for my childhood.
Nervous, because anyone who has seen the original 1994 Disney animation and Jon Favreau’s 2019 movie remake will understand just how tasking a staged reenactment would be, especially as a student project with limited funding and time constraints.
However, I was excited to see what they’d make out of the challenges the production posed.
True to my expectations, the play left me and I believe most members of the audience with bouts of nostalgia.
The almost perfect synchronization of the theatrical elements including the intentional characterization, exceptional use of music and the visually appealing art direction, no doubt took the audience members back to the time when they first saw Disney’s original animation.
The 2-hour-long production which I now tag “a burst of emotions, humor, colors and culture” carried on its fast-paced rhythm from start to finish, leaving a lingering sense of longing for more in the hearts of the audience.
I especially loved that while they maintained most of the elements of the original piece, they also managed to throw in new and exciting features such as vibrant, effortless comedy and beautifully choreographed dance sequences.
While I doff my hat to all cast and crew members of the play production, I especially commend the efforts of the director, Babatunde Lawal for creatively marrying all the aspects in imperfectly perfect harmony.
Indeed, I felt as though I was 9 years old again.
Watch a snippet of the play production here: