Last year, one of the best and most unexpected stage debuts was My Neighbour Totoro, an adaptation of the beloved Studio Ghibli film. Following its roaring success, a follow-up of sort is coming in the form of Spirited Away, another Ghibli film which scooped the Oscar for Best Animated Film back in 2003.
The Spirited Away theatre production is to debut at the London Coliseum next year for its European premiere and will retell the enchanting story of Chihiro and her adventure into a realm of supernatural beings. Here’s everything you need to know.
Where did the idea come from?
The stage version of Spirited Away premiered in Tokyo early last year, where it had some sizeable shoes to fill: Hayao Miyazaki ’s film is considered one of the best films of all time, and an iconic piece of Japanese culture loved worldwide.
Luckily though, the play received acclaim for capturing the same magic as the film, recreating some of its most iconic moments and characters. The London production looks just as good and is once again directed by frequent Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre director John Caird , who also oversaw the Tokyo version.
What will the Spirited Away theatre production entail?
A faithful and big-budget recreation of the film, with costumes that capture the film’s anime art style and the various creatures made into puppets.
After moving to a new, suburban neighbourhood, ten-year-old Chihiro and her parents come across an amusement park. The sullen Chihiro finds that her parents have suddenly turned into enormous pigs, and is informed by young boy, Haku, that the park is actually a realm inhabited by supernatural creatures.
Taking a job in a bathhouse run by the witch Yubababa, Chihiro must work to find a way to free both herself and her family to return to the human world, learning some important life lessons along the way.
The images from the Tokyo production give a glimpse of the mesmerising show, with characters like the iconic No-Face and Haku brought to life.
When will it come to the West End?
The exact cast list, as well as dates and ticket details, are still to be announced, but the show is set to have a limited run at the Coliseum from April to July 2024, and you can sign up for more info on the show’s website.
The official website also has a short teaser trailer showing some highlights of the Tokyo show, and a snippet of the score.