Spirited Away evaluate – Studio Ghibli theatre adaptation is completely enchanting | Theatre | Entertainment | EUROtoday

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It’s been over 20 years since Hayao Miyazaki gained the Best Animated Feature Film Oscar for Spirited Away.

The Studio Ghibli masterpiece, which is usually in comparison with Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz, is now thought of one of many best motion pictures ever made. So it was solely a matter of time earlier than a stage adaptation got here to fruition.

London has already been blessed by the theatrical manufacturing of My Neighbour Totoro, primarily based on one other Miyazaki film basic.

And following that present’s newly introduced 2025 switch to the West End, it is now Spirited Away’s flip to shine within the British capital.

The authentic solid from the sold-out Japanese world premiere is performing this restricted UK run, talking within the authentic manufacturing’s native tongue with English captions. And having witnessed opening evening as a Studio Ghibli fan, we will affirm it’s an completely enchanting expertise.

Just like My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away is each an extremely devoted adaptation of the film and a beneficiant size, clocking in at 3 hours together with the interval. The magic begins even earlier than the play begins, with the stage house adorned in dazzling greenery, earlier than the story’s lead enters the stage along with her mother and father, travelling in a automotive to their new dwelling.

Before arriving, her father insists on a pitstop at what seems to be an deserted theme park with meals nonetheless being served. But issues quickly flip south as her mother and father are was pigs. Entering the spirit realm, the lady finds herself at a bathhouse for the gods dominated over by the witch Yubaba. Here Chihiro takes a job, assembly every kind of bizarre and questioning creatures as she units off on an journey to save lots of her mom and father and return to the human world.

From the beginning, this Studio Ghibli story is magically tailored for the stage by Toho Theatrical Department and Les Mis director John Caird. The present is filled with whimsy and vibrant characters, with numerous fantastical monsters getting into the bathhouse in superbly designed costumes. Highlights needed to be the enormous radish spirit sharing a elevate with Chihiro and the boiler man Kamaji together with his lengthy marionette spider arms.

Just like Totoro, the puppet work all through is spectacular and pleasant, with solid members in beige mixing into the surroundings as they create beings to life. From a frog man and large residing faces fashioned collectively by puzzle items to the swirling majestic kites of unusual birds, spirits and dragons – it’s a spectacle to behold. All this takes place round a particular effects-laden shifting set, because the ensemble creates the phantasm of operating alongside a hall, by shifting door-shaped picket props round in unison.

Spirited Away isn’t a musical, however authentic songs are launched alongside Joe Hisaishi’s beautiful authentic movie rating, carried out by a reside orchestra within the pit. This added touchingly to quieter and extra emotional moments, just like the well-known practice journey experience with the entity referred to as No-Face. A selected music-driven excessive got here on the finish of the primary half, when the entire solid had been dancing on stage with golden followers, dressed as their eclectic characters. Glorious.

The solely actual criticism now we have of this manufacturing is that having to learn English captions along side the stage retains you from taking within the surreal wonders in entrance of you. So the place you sit within the theatre actually does matter and we’d advocate additional again and up the place the captions are above the stage relatively than to the facet. Nevertheless, that is an unmissable deal with for Studio Ghibli followers and theatre-goers eager to see one thing totally different and notably engrossing.

Spirited Away is carried out on the London Coliseum till August 24 and tickets might be booked right here.