THEATRE REVIEW: The Butterfly Lion ★★★
The Butterfly Lion
The Everyman Theatre, London
The Everyman Theatre, London
The Buttery Lion was a brilliant piece of evening entertainment. The set and lighting felt all warmly and homely. The transition from the cub and the lion was done expertly with a sequence of Bertie playing with the cub. The movements from all the puppets made the animals seem so real. The gates from the school were also used for the fence in Africa and the cage for the lion. The running away sequence at the start from boarding school and the journeys both too and back from Africa felt so magical and done so well. The projection of the white lion on the hill was also spine-tingling and really spoke words with the expressions from Michaels face when he first sees it at Millie's home.
The scenes with Bertie and the lion was so heartwarming,and the whole act was just captivating, really drawing you into the story. Act two opens and focuses throughout on the story of Bertie fighting in the war, and millies journey to France in search of finding him.
The story happens to be that Bertie was awarded a victoria cross after he helped a Germany solider come away from 'No Mans Land', and Millie finds the article in the paper that leads her to the hospital where Bertie is being treated as a patient after he gets shot in the leg. The lighting during the war scene was just stunning and the timing throughout this and the car sequence later in the act was perfect timing.
Bertie finds that the circus his white lion was taken has been shut down and fears that the lion would be killed, so goes in search for the French guy, and luckily finds him at an abandoned house, where he kept his promise to Bertie that he would look after his lion and so comes to an emotional reunion between Bertie and the lion. The ending is where the questions behind the chalked lion gets answered.
After the lion was brought back to England to live with Millie and Bertie, who got married, until it died. Bertie decided to remember it by chalking at the lion on the hill, which took years. The final sequence has Micheal run up to the hill where butterflies would drink from the top of the chalked lion, which is where the butterfly lion comes from, and suddenly thousands of paper butterflies are released from the top of the stage, which is where the lights are faded and the show comes to a close. The chemistry between the two lead actors is just a joy to see and really warms the heart. The lighting between sets and sequences really makes you believe you are a part of this world that is being created and involving on the stage infront, and that's what makes the show spectacular and magical. It captivates you right throughout and the funny scenes to serious scenes are balanced wonderfully. The Show has got to be one of the best shows i have seen in a long time involving straight acting, and really will stay in my mind, and leave me a lot to talk about, for a long time to come