Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Friday, May 17, 2024

Spirited Away @ London Coliseum...

Last night Stuart and I went to the London Coliseum in London's glitzy West End to see John Caird's delightful epic Japanese-language production of the Oscar-winning Spirited Away.
It’s quite extraordinary that we have not one but two theatrical adaptations of Studio Ghibli films on offer in the West End, given the immense challenges of bringing Hayao Miyazaki’s unique and beguiling animation to the stage. But, following the RSC’s gorgeous My Neighbour Totoro, which returns next year, this production of Spirited Away is an absolute treat.
There is nothing minimalist here. It is a fantastically ambitious show with eye-popping spectacle.
Sachiko Nakahara’s towering costumes and Toby OliĆ©’s ingenious puppetry to a Noh-inspired grand bathhouse design by Jon Bausor on a stately revolve that commands the Coliseum stage. The sheer scope is thrilling.
It's funny. It's silly. It's moving. 
Initially we follow Chihiro (Mone Kamishiraishi) into the magical bathhouse of gods and spirits. There we get to meet the terrifying sorceress Yubaba, the mysterious creature No-Face, Yubaba’s apprentice Haku, fellow worker Lin, and the spider-like boiler-man Kamaji.
There’s always something vivid and fascinating to engage with. The three-hour running time flew by.
There are amazing coup-de-theatres such as when Yubaba erupts in fury, a giant version of her face is suddenly conjured by several puppeteers piecing together various parts of it.
A personal favourite were the adorable puppet soot sprites with their googly eyes and “meep” yelps.
And yet, beyond all the busy ideas and invention, the production also leaves breathing space for quieter scenes to play out. A sequence set in a train carriage, as the light falls, is utterly exquisite: a sort of living painting. It’s magical theatre.
Go see.



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