FROM the plains of Africa to the streets of Manchester, the Lion King roared, galloped and hot-footed its way back to the north west this week in spectacular fashion.

Whether you’ve seen the stage show before on one of its previous tours or are simply a fan of the animated film, it’s impossible not to be left in awe of what is a visually stunning feast for the eyes for the entire duration of the show.

The opening scene is one of pure joy, evidence right from the very start that the production is of the highest West End standard, the audience reaction to it one of the most enthusiastic I’ve ever heard at the Palace Theatre.

Pure Disney magic from start to finish, theatre-goers both young and old were captivated throughout, every scene a delight, full of colour and spectacle.

It’s difficult to believe that this is a show which debuted on Broadway back in 1997. Twenty-five years on it’s still as fresh now as it was when I first saw it.

It stays loyal to the film and Tim Rice and Elton John’s original iconic songs including Circle Of Life, Can You Feel The Love Tonight and Hakuna Matata, but with the addition of several memorable numbers such as He Lives In You and Shadowland.

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And amid the drama there are some delightful comedic moments, mostly provided by much-loved characters Pumbaa, Timon and Zazu, including a few north west references which the audience lapped up – Bury Market and Salford amongst them.

It would be wrong to name stand out performances from the actors here as this is a real ensemble production, with each and every cast member and talented musician in the orchestra playing their part. From the animal puppeteers parading down the aisles of the stalls with the most intricate of movements, to the dancers who seamlessly transition from scene setters one moment to menacing hyenas the next. All are justifiably deserving of the rousing standing ovation at the end.

The Lion King has just had its run at the Palace Theatre extended to Saturday, March 11, 2023 – a run of 19 weeks – so if you’re struggling for Christmas gift ideas this year it’s well worth taking a look. Ticket prices do vary considerably depending on where you sit, but if you can manage to bag an aisle seat in the stalls you won’t regret it. For more details and to book, see