The Lion Inside

Fed up of being ignored and forgotten by the other animals, little Mouse wishes he could roar like a Lion to make his voice heard. But he soon discovers that even the biggest, bossiest people are scared sometimes ... and the smallest creatures can stand up and be brave!

For fans of The Gruffalo and Disney’s Lion King, The Rose Theatre has produced a PAWsome new family show: The Lion Inside. 

Based on the WILDLY successful children’s book by Rachel Bright & Jim Field this brand-new adaptation comes complete with music and lyrics (Eamonn O’Dwyer) that you’ll be singing along to all the way home. Expect audience interaction, a couple of dance moves, and gorgeous merchandise that is neither distracting nor overstimulating! 

A cast of three take us on a journey through the savannah, multi rolling their way through all kinds of herds and prides to fully immerse us in the desert’s wildlife. Clarke Joseph-Edwards gave an outstanding performance in all of his characters, and was largely responsible for the overall jazziness of the experience! 

This sensation was aided by Oli Townsend’s marvellous costumes - with the star being undoubtedly the Lion itself. Seeing these outfits against a backdrop as multifunctional as it was idyllic, alongside how smooth the scene changes were, really added a level of value. And the set itself was also impressive, as it moved with the story instead of just alongside it, and never detracted from the action on stage. As usual at this venue, the LX and sound departments (Ryan Day and Ella Wahlstrӧm respectively) were flawless throughout and are what really sets this show apart from others of its kind. 

When theatre is made for younger audiences, it is their response that really determines the success of the piece. There was such minimal agitation for the entire hour’s running time that a hats off must go to Sarah Punshon who’s engaging direction worked effectively within the spacious and accommodating auditorium.

Although the plot was emotive, sometimes this was a detriment as much as it was positive, as there were a few dips in energy levels that weren't very productive. 

The overall highlight was of course the puppets. Looking at any pictures from photographer Pamela Raith, you can tell before you even book tickets that Chuck Brown’s creations have been made with so much thought and care by him and his small team of puppet makers, and it really shows on stage! They are clever, big, vibrant, and flexible. Absolutely wonderful! 

If you know a little cub who is equally empathetic and enthusiastic, and enjoys stories with a message that roar loud and clear, then this show is for them.

The Lion Inside is running in Kingston until the end of the Easter holidays, before galloping off around the UK until the end of August! Find your date and venue here: Children's Theatre | Family Days Out | The Lion Inside (lioninsidelive.com)

Review written by Katie McConnell

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Photo credit: Pamela Raith

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