| 7.8°C Dublin

Lion King has already sold 85,000 seats

THE curtain raises on Disney's much-anticipated stage show The Lion King later this week – and it's set to be a roaring success if the preview is anything to go by.

Show-stopping numbers, Javanese dance moves and life-size giraffe puppets; it certainly packs a punch.

Based on the iconic Disney animation, the musical was first staged in New York in 1997.

Since then it has been seen by more than 70 million people across five continents.

It is one of the largest productions ever to hit Dublin's theatrical scene; 21 articulated trucks brought over the hundreds of masks and thousands of lights, more than 700 costumes have been unloaded into the theatre and there are more than 100 people working backstage.

So far the show has been staged in 15 countries.

But according to Brideshead Revisited actor Stephen Carlile – who plays baddy Scar – Irish audiences are the warmest in the world.

"We've done several previews and each night the crowds are up on their feet immediately, which is great.


"There's a great atmosphere. Everyone is so welcoming."

And the buzz around the show continues to build, with more than 85,000 tickets already sold.

The cast is in town until June 22 and Stephen wants to take in the sights and sounds of Dublin.

"I've been to Dublin once beforehand, when I was in Evita in The Gaiety, but it was freezing the whole time. But the weather is glorious now.

"I have every Monday off and I want to get up the mountains and go to Johnny Fox's and take a trip to the Guinness Storehouse."