I AM not the first - and feel sure will definitely not be the last - to say that Disney's long-awaited staging of The Lion King at the Liverpool Empire has been a roaring success.
The award-winning show - featuring music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice - is at the city centre venue until July 5, as part of its record-breaking UK tour.
Based on the Academy award-winning film this colourful and lively production, which was four years in the making, tells the compelling tale of Simba.
It follows the young lion cub as he journeys through life and struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and his destined role of King. Along the way he meets Timon the Meerkat and his flatulent friend Pumbaa.
The touring production features a truly international cast of more than 50 actors, singers and dancers, from 17 different countries, supported by a backstage team of over 100 people.
With hundreds of masks, puppets and more than 700 elaborate costumes representing 26 different types of animal, 21 giant trucks are used to transport everything across the country.
It is show packed with brilliant dance pieces by Garth Fagan, memorable music, laughs and high drama.
Fans of the film will be familiar with the tale of tragedy, victory and songs Can You Feel The Love Tonight, The Circle Of Life, Akhuna Matata and The Lion Sleeps Tonight.
As you would expect, the stage adaptation is a lot more powerful than the film, with whoops and gasps from members of the audience in places.
It is also full of surprises and it would be wrong to list these in detail - particularly if you are planning to take the children along to see it.
Suffice to say, there was a standing ovation for the cast following last night's performance.
The audience's appreciation was evident outside the theatre as people sang some of the show's tunes while making their way to waiting coaches, cars and the train station to go home.
In total, the touring production is visiting 10 cities across the UK and Ireland over two-and-a-half years, with further dates and locations to be announced.
The stage adaptation of Disney’s 1994 film was first seen on Broadway in 1997, where it recently became the highest grossing show in Broadway history. It has now been seen by more than 65 million people across five continents.
The acclaimed West End production continues to sell out at London’s Lyceum Theatre in its 14th triumphant year.
This new touring production has enjoyed sell-out, record-breaking seasons in Bristol and Manchester.
- Tickets for the show are from the Liverpool Empire box office on 0844 871 3017 or www.thelionking.co.uk