SENSATIONAL. There is no other word to describe Disney’s touring production of The Lion King which had an official red carpet opening at the Bristol Hippodrome on Thursday.

From the very first few seconds of the show when Rafiki (Gugwana Diamini) calls all the animals down to the stage, through the auditorium, the tone is set for a jaw-dropping experience.

The costumes are spectacularly breathtaking from the elephants to the blades of grass and the transportation of the magnificent African jungle to the small stage is nothing short of sheer genius.

Initially it’s hard not to be drawn to the faces of the actors as their masks are in the form of elaborate headresses designed to move in perfect animation with their body.

But very quickly the eyes adjust and we were soon transfixed by the overall production and could only see a stage full of prowling lions and lionesses and hyenas who played their part to absolute perfection.

Anyone who has seen Disney’s screen version of the wilderbeast stampede won’t fail to be enthralled and excited by the gloriously clever adaptation of this scene for the stage.

The evil character of Scar, the baddie we all love to hate, was brilliantly played by Stephen Carlile while Timon and Pumbaa (John Hasler and Mark Roper) the loveable meerkat and warthog provided light relief with stupendous comic timing.

But everyone from the ants to the giraffes gave this show their all and each and every one was deserving of the spontaneous standing ovation at the end.

Just make a list of every superlative adjective in the book and you are only half way to imagining how enjoyable this musical is.

Book a ticket. You will kick yourself if you miss it.

The Lion King continues at the Bristol Hippodrome until November 17.