PEORIA, IL -- The Broadway show The Lion King roared into the Peoria Civic Center Theater tonight, and plays until Oct. 13. It's quite a spectacle.
The famous puppets, the incredible sets, the fabulous costumes and dancing, the special effects, all in all it's an odd combination of Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil and worth seeing for the spectacular, well, spectacle.
There's also comedy and interesting music and singing, but an odd lack of emotion and character development. It deals in stereotypes -- the lively lions, the evil laughing hyenas, the males as king. Perhaps that simplicity plus spectacle is its appeal to the public.
And yes, there was a glitch: a mysterious sudden fall of the curtain with a total blackout for the audience for a couple of minutes -- perhaps understandable given the complexity of the sets and scene changes.
Then there's the Civic Center Theater - so grungy with its worn out carpets. Such poor planning that it ran out of programs. And something new and bad has appeared -- an airport style security system, which caused huge lines and made the show begin 15 minutes late. There's a long ominous list of banned items from weapons to diaper bags, a sign states. At least we didn't have to remove our shoes.
The theater's infamous sound system hadn't been improved, and as usual made the dialogue almost impossible to understand.
Still, people were saying how much they liked it, as the crowd spilled out of the theater.
-- Elaine Hopkins