From The Box Office reviews The Wonderful World of Disney On Ice

This sensational production is a treat for children and parents alike, guaranteed to have you singing to your favourite classic Disney songs and have little ones dancing along with much-loved characters.

From the energetic warm-up dance to the final incredible ensemble performance, The Wonderful World of Disney On Ice is a stunning demonstration of awe-inspiring ice skating. The masterful stunts and tricks will leave your jaw on the floor, as characters from Elsa and Anna to Jessie, Buzz and Woody glide across the ice performing fun, charming and daring routines. Looking around at the children’s faces throughout the performance, it was amusing to see that their amazement was mirrored in their parents’ expressions as well!

The show is the perfect balance for a great family day out – with a run time of just 2 hours (including a 20 minute interval), children were engaged and enjoying themselves from start to finish. Dancing to the songs, singing along and waving to their favourite characters, the joy and excitement was palpable, with anticipation building after every routine as we wondered which characters and songs we’d be treated to next.

The best part of this experience for me (because this is far more than just a show), was seeing the wonder in my 5-year-old niece’s face as the cast skated around, performing dazzling stunts while special effect fireworks and lighting lit up the arena, and the joy and excitement that she felt as her favourite characters waved to her in the crowd. Disney holds a special place in the heart of many children (as well as many adults, as was evident from the parents around me!) and this production is merely another example of what makes Disney so very special. With such a wide variety of characters, both from the older classics, such as Aladdin, and new favourites, such as Frozen, there is something in the show to please every generation that grew up watching the heart-warming films.

Note: if you’re worried that you can’t book tickets to see the show because you don’t have children – don’t! I saw a number of groups who had decided to leave the kids at home and have a day of child-like joy with their friends.

The tour still has dates available in Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool and Cardiffbook tickets at your nearest arena now from £20.70.

Meet Janique Charles: The Lion King’s new Nala

Janique Charles officially replaces Ava Brennan in the role of Nala, Simba’s childhood friend, in Disney’s The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre. We sat down with her to discuss her journey in getting the role, what it’s like to work for Disney and, ultimately, how it feels to be part of the most successful musical in history.

'Can You You Feel The Love Tonight' - Nick Afoa as Simba, Janique Charles as Nala 2017 ©Disney.jpg

Congratulations on getting the role! Has musical theatre always been the ultimate goal for you?

I’ve always wanted to work for Disney. Whether it was through performing in a Disney musical, on the Disney channel or on a Disney cruise ship – I just knew I wanted to work for Disney. Having grown up endlessly watching Disney movies and Disney TV, I’ve always felt very connected to it – so this is a real dream come true for me.

So how did you get the role of Nala? 

I’ve been working on The Lion King for 4 years. I moved here from Trinidad and Tobago in 2013 to join Disney’s The Lion King UK tour, which also stopped in Basel, Switzerland, and that’s where my journey began! About a year ago, I made it to the West End, playing a number of different roles in the ensemble: the banana lady, a white bird, a hyena (which was so much fun!) and a lioness. Once I had a taste of playing a lioness, it became clear to me how much I’d enjoy playing Nala.

What do you particularly like about her?

She’s sweet, but fierce. She stands up for herself and those she cares about. It’s not in my character to be this fearless, so I love that in this role, I get to be fierce every day.

What’s your favourite thing about being part of such a successful musical?

I think the thing I appreciate the most is having the opportunity to work with so many professional and truly talented people. I learn so much from these world-class performers, whilst playing a part in a story that I adored growing up. It’s a wonderful experience.

'Shadowland' - Janique Charles as Nala 2017 ©Disney

If you could see any other film made into a musical, what would it be?

I’ve always liked the Prince of Egypt, I think that film has potential to be an incredible musical. There are some really underrated, beautiful songs. In terms of Disney films, The Lion King is of course my favourite, however, The Little Mermaid comes a very close second! I love the innocence of Ariel, but if it was made into a musical, I’d have to play Ursula – I have so much fun playing these bolder, more daring characters.

What’s been the biggest challenge so far?

Well, working for Disney is what I’ve always wanted to do, and I’ve been working for years to get here. So I often have to remind myself to breathe, relax and enjoy what I’ve worked so hard to achieve.

I think on a less serious note, falling over most days in rehearsals is a challenge. It’s a very physical show – particularly the fight scene between Nala and Simba – so it’s bound to happen. It’s past the stage of embarrassing now, but it sure does hurt!

So what’s your relationship like with Nick Afoa (Simba)?

Nick’s great – he’s a really funny, cool guy. He’s from New Zealand – so it’s really interesting learning about his culture and hearing all of his stories from when he played rugby professionally. We’ve had a lot of laughs since beginning rehearsals. But I love every member of the cast; they’re all so inspiring and bring so much to the show.

'The Embrace' - Nick Afoa as Simba, Janique Charles as Nala 2017 ©Disney .jpg

For people who haven’t seen the show yet, what can they expect?

It’s so beautiful. You just can’t even imagine how much you’ll enjoy it. There’s one particular scene with white birds that makes me fall in love with the show more each time; their costumes flow out like a flower in bloom. You can’t put into words how beautiful it is. The music, the costumes – it’s all mind-blowing.

One last question – is there any advice you’d give to aspiring actors/actresses?

To put it simply, never give up. Keep trying, auditioning, playing the smaller parts. I played so many characters in the ensemble for the show and I learned so much. I had to know the show in and out; that experience was truly invaluable.

Janique performs her role of Nala for the first time tonight at 7.30pm.
Book tickets for Disney’s The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre here.

Watch the official trailer below.

Aladdin: Diamond in the Rough is a Royal Romp!

4star

I approached Aladdin, the latest offering from Disney Theatrical with a sense of excitement and trepidation. Could Disney recreate the magic of the film on stage without losing the magic and wonder? Could The Genie live up to the phenomenal performance of Robin Williams and a team of Disney’s finest animators? Would Aladdin trump the Lion King? Read more

Disney’s The Lion King – Up Close and Personal

Getting to romp backstage with the lions at the Lyceum Theatre has to be one of the most fun things we’ve ever done in the West End. The Lion King’s opening Circle of Life is truly one of the great moments of live theatre, and being offered the chance to explore this enthralling backstage world is a genuine thrill.

Backstage photography at Disney's The Lion King in London [Helen Maybanks]
Backstage photography at Disney’s The Lion King in London [Helen Maybanks]
 

We’re with Laura O’Toole, marketing co-ordinator for the London Production of Disney’s The Lion King. From the first moment Laura meets us at Stage Door, we can feel that she has a real passion for the show. There is a buzz about every part of the building and as we walk through to the stage we pass actors, crew, wardrobe and dozens of other people resetting for that evening’s performance. Read more