my neighbor totoro review

In collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company, composer and producer Joe Hisaishi has assembled a team of world-class writers, designers, puppeteers and actors to bring to life the story of two young sisters who discover a giant wood spirit when they move from Tokyo. Towards the field.

Under the nonchalant direction of Phelim McDermott, the sisters, the young and irrepressible Mei (Mei Mac) and the older and responsible Satsuki (Ami Okumura Jones), make their way through a forest of shifting scenery and jaw-dropping puppets to tell a story. fundamentally simple.

While their mother (Haruka Abe) lies seriously ill in the hospital and their father, the teacher (Dai Tabuchi), shuttles back and forth between the rural community and Tokyo, the sisters are left in the care of Granny (Jacqueline Tate), with whom they are constantly in touch. slipping away

A trail of acorns leads them into the forest where they encounter a huge furry creature, part rabbit, part owl, known as a totoro. He makes a big growl but deep down he is a pussycat.

Speaking of felines, there’s also a cat bus: a huge inflatable blimp shaped like a grinning cat (shades of the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland) that’s more Elephantom than War Horse and has the audience in stitches.

Of the smaller puppets, the flock of chickens scampering across the stage is hysterical, while the soot goblins running all over the walls are only creepy for the arachnophobic.

The story is lean and the songs are unremarkable, but that’s not the point. Benign environmentalism and the creations of puppeteer Basil Twist (via The Jim Henson Company) are the reason to book seats for him. Cynical adults may not be carried away by their unique fantasy.

All others will be carried away.

  • My Neighbor Totoro at the Barbican Theater until January 21 Tickets: 020 7870 250

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