Flashdance: The Musical - Theatre Review

Flashdance: The Musical - Theatre Review

The smash hit movie, Flashdance has been adapted as a musical and had its premier last month in Toronto. The show features some of the biggest anthems of the '80s, including Flashdance...What a FeelingManiacGloria, and I Love Rock & Roll. Flashdance tells the story of Alex Owens, a young woman who works as a welder by day and who moonlights as a nightclub dancer. With big dreams of attending a prestigious ballet school, Alex finds encouragement and motivation from her friends and mentor. 

Sydney Morton is absolutely sensational as Alex, the ambitious and hardworking steelworker and talented dancer. Morton dominates the stage with her incredibly honed dance technique, melodic voice, and indomitable spirit. Corey Mach plays Alex's boss and love interest, Nick, who falls a little flat. The chemistry between Morton and Mach is sorely lacking, which makes it difficult to be drawn into their love story. Mach gives a slightly wooden performance and is easily upstaged by Morton. Kiki (Kyra Da Costa) plays Alex's confidante and she is one of the show's scene stealers, with her powerful vocals bringing down the house in her superb rendition of Manhunt. Her stage presence and vocal prowess is mesmerizing.

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The Lion King - Toronto - Theatre Review

Brown Lindiwe Mkhize as “Rafiki” in the opening number “The Circle of Life” from THE LION KING National Tour. ©Disney

By: Alison Silveira

There is truly nothing like seeing the creative spectacle that is The Lion King live on stage. Tony award winning visionary, Julie Taymor creatively pushes theatrical boundaries as she brings wild animals of the jungle to life through intricate manipulations of puppets and shadow puppetry in her artistically dazzling adaptation of Disney's hit movie musical. 

Themes of betrayal, loyalty, redemption, and love are explored as the young lion cub, Simba is blamed for his beloved father Mufasa's death by his villainous uncle Scar. Scar's plan of assuming the kingship of Pride Rock is thwarted when the once exiled Simba returns to claim his rightful place as true king. 

Jelani Remy as “Simba” from THE LION KING National Tour. ©Disney.

Brown Lindiwe Mkhize majestically opens the show with her powerful vocals as the wise sage, Rafiki. Jelani Remy as Simba shines on stage in the title role. His spritely enthusiasm and energy are limitless as he effortlessly leaps in the air and conquers the stage with his dominating presence. Patrick R. Brown, brilliantly portrays the devious character of Scar, who at the same time evokes loathing and pity from the audience. Nick Cordileone is irresistibly comical as Simba's confidant and sidekick, Timon. 

Jelani Remy as “Simba” and the ensemble in “He Lives in You” from THE LION KING National Tour. ©Disney. 

African chants, songs sung a cappella, and power ballads are integral parts of the storytelling. Classic songs such as "Circle of Life" and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" are composed by the legendary Elton John and his writing partner, Tim Rice, who also received Tony awards for best original score. The cast as a whole brings magic to the stage as they depict wildlife with graceful, rhythmic movements and sing in perfect harmony.  

The Lion King is a groundbreaking musical worth seeing for Taymor's brilliant innovation in theatrical staging alone. Children and adults alike will be captivated, inspired even, by the enchanting, regal sights that unfold before them. 

Starring Jelani Remy, Patrick R. Brown, L. Steven Taylor, and Nia Holloway

Directed by Julie Taymor

Music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice

Book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi

Choreography by Garth Fagan

The Lion King plays at the Princess of Wales Theatre until June 15, 2014.

Photos by Joan Marcus.