‘Secondhand lions’ is a musical soundtrack (now available on Spotify and other streaming devices) is a musical adaptation of the 2003 movie of the same name. It tells the story of an introverted child called Walter who is left on the doorstep of his eccentric great-uncles Hub and Garth McCann. A strange family connection is developed as the McCann brothers recount exciting tales of adventures in exotic lands that have been on through the years. I personally love sitting by the fire as my grandparent recall stories of there youth and the crazy adventures they have been on so the plot of this soundtrack is incredibly well thought out and relatable in my opinion. The show starts with the classic scene of sitting to her these magical stories and as the music swells the over-the-top stories comes to life in front of their very eyes. This musical adaptation was created by Alan Zachary and Micheal Weiner who also wrote the musical first dates based on the book by Rupert Holmes who have clearly all worked together fanatically to create an overwhelming sense of adventure through all the songs in this soundtrack.
The opening number titled the wild lion’s boys is a fantastic number that really generates the sense of adventure and excitement which is fantastic. The story shows clear allusions to Wild West cultures through the choice of vernacular and musical motifs which naturally adds to the adventure of the show. I would hope that the staging for this song (and the majority of the show) is so wonderfully crafted to truly transport the viewer this bygone area of cowboys. One of my favourite songs in this entire album is “Just Right” that was performed by Trey Middleton who is a very young performer. He is an insanely talented performer who has a fantastically bright future ahead of him, the vocals in this song were phenomenal and all of the emotion was clear to hear which is a sign of gifted performer. I could honestly listen to this song over and over again and never get bored and I will keep an eye of Trey’s career as he is destined for fantastic things in the future! “The Sultan of the Sultanate of Oujda” is another song that was so grand and wonderfully over-the-top that it was a joy to listen to. I can imagine the spectacular on stage the audience would witness during this number and I hope that it is so ridiculously magnificent that audience are equal parts impressed and confused. “Alive or dead” is you classic scheming evil scheming ensemble number which I predict it full of choreography and stunts (mainly because I enjoy that sort of stuff.) The music had been crafted in a way to be extremely intense which I would not have expected from the rest of the tracks in this playlist but was a welcomed contrast.
The musical is not all fun and joyful numbers as there are also a lot of emotionally powered tracks that talk about issues such as a child’s loss of innocence and dealing with change. “The song story of my life” is delivered by the younger of the two great uncles sings about how he is now the one who has to look after his brother whereas when they were young it was the other way around. It talks about how times have changed and was delivered flawlessly by Gregg Edelman who managed to balance the emotional impact of the song with the constant sense of fun the show perfectly. This track will make you reflect on your life while also being incredibly catchy which a very dangerous combination. The finale song is one of the most logical endings to a show I have ever seen. The song begins with Trey talking about whether it’s a good or bad idea to blindly believe his step-uncles fantastical stories which is a topic also talked about during “you have to see it to believe it” (which is an incredible song in its own life that is both comical and educational, in the sense that is filled with accurate recounts of scientific breakthroughs) and so it perfectly tied together with the sense of adventure and storytelling with the more serious undertones of the show which is a brilliant inclusion. Not only was this a clever song but it was also performed excellently by all the performers involved with Trey shining throughout.
Over “Secondhand Lions” is a very well crafted show that managed to portray a wonderful sense of adventure and excitement throughout. For me, it transcends the idea of a musical and becomes more of a musical experience which I think is due to the fact that it was based on an earlier movie. I would recommend this theatre fans who also class themselves as a Hodophile (new word meaning one who loves to travel and loves adventure.) I would rate this show 5 out of 5 stars!