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Spirited Away Stage Show Comes To The London Stage

There's a surprisingly long history of animation being adapted for the stage. The success of Disney's The Lion King on Broadway and later London's West End, led to stage shows based on Frozen,  Aladdin, Tarzan,  Hercules and even The Prince Of Egypt and Shrek. Meanwhile, in Japan every anime franchise worth its salt has had one or more adaptations of various kinds. For example, Bleach was adapted as a rock musical. In 2022 an adaptation of Hayao Miyazaki's timeless classic Spirited Away opened at Tokyo's historic Imperial Theatre. Now the production is coming to London's Coliseum Theatre for a strictly limited run. This is the fourth Studio Ghibli film to make it to the British stage, following Princess Mononoke, Kiki's Delivery Service and My Neighbour Totoro.

The show is adapted and directed by John Caird, director of the iconic musical Les Miserables. The play features puppetry designed and directed by Toby Ollie and features sets designed by Jon Bausor.The play features the original score as written by Joe Hisaishi.

For the benefit of those who might have been living under a rock, the story follows 10 year-old Chihiro. On the way to her new home, her parents stop by an apparently abandoned amusement park. There her parents are turned into pigs and Chihiro is transported to the spirited world. She meets spirits both friendly and not-so-friendly. Can she survive long enough to get her parents turned back into humans and find her way home?

The cast sees multiple people filling all the major roles. Chihiro is played by Kanna Hashimoto,Mone Kamishiraishi, Rina Kawaei and Momoko Fukuchi. Kotaro Daigo, Hiroki Miura and Atsuki Mashiko will play Haku. Hikaru Yamano will play No-Face. Among those portraying the double role of Yubaba/ Zeniba is Romi Park is a popular anime voice actor, and she is well known for playing Ed in Fullmetal Alchemist among many others.

The show will run at the Coliseum between April 30 and August 24. Performances take place Tuesday-Saturday, with additional matinee performances on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. The play will be performed in Japanese language with English surtitles. It's recommended for audiences aged seven and up.

Tickets are selling fast but are still available via the website.

GKIDS Films released a recording of the original Japanese production in US cinemas last year and have also released it on Blu-Ray. The original film is available streaming in the UK on Netflix and on Max in the USA.