Spirited Away @ London Coliseum Review

Courtesy of Johan Persson.

Recently awarded an Academy Award for his critically acclaimed animated work The Boy and the Heron, legendary founder of animation studio Studio Ghibli Hayao Miyazaki’s cult classic Spirited Away transforms the London Coliseum auditorium with clusters of cherry blossoms dotted around the venue. The tale of Chiriro (Kanna Hashimoto) unpredictably transitioning into the realm of the Kami – spirits significant within the Japanese Shinto religion with the aim of finding her parents (Fu Hinami and Kenya Osumi) who she’d split away from accidentally and uplifting a curse that has turned them into pigs that threatens to bound them forever. A tale of bravery, resilience, family and of course spirit, John Caird and Maoko Imai co-adapt a colourful, thoughtful and sustained watch, Caird directing an international work that clearly resonates with fans globally.

3 hours in length, roughly an hour longer than the original film, Caird ensures that fans of the film are treated to an elaborate event, Hashimoto’s Chihiro embodying a fearless heroism that acts as a guiding light. Kotaro Daigo’s Haku a noble, resolute sidekick tasked with guiding Chihiro through this eclectic, ethereal world. Romi Park’s Yubaba, a powerful witch in charge of a workhouse that Chihiro now finds herself having to work at as a means to hopefully finding her parents delivering a mischievous, villainous streak with a deceptively vulnerable side. The ensemble forever making the stage a busy energy, whether in its quieter moments or more raucous scenarios.

Translations form a significant part of the show, screens positioned stage left, right and above to bridge the gap between both UK and Japanese culture. Satoshi Kuriyama’s projection design’s vivid, the live band’s illustrative orchestrations, led by Erika Fukasawa further helping us all to transcend into this mythical space. Toby Olié’s puppet creations a celebration of the form, showcasing the great feats that can be achieved with a fantastic level of detail – the ethereal made possible, Sachiko Nakahara keeping true to the film’s aesthetic with again a great level of detailed costume design.

For those familiar as well as new to the world of Studio Ghbili, Spirited Away makes for an entertaining watch!

Review written by Lucy Basaba.

Spirited Away is currently showing until Saturday 24th August at the London Coliseum. To find out more about the production, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop