Reviews: What Do Critics Think of London's Spirited Away? | Playbill

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The Verdict Reviews: What Do Critics Think of London's Spirited Away?

The stage adaptation of Studio Ghibili's 2001 film Spirited Away previously premiered in Japan.

Kanna Hashimoto in Spirited Away © Toho Co., Ltd.

The London transfer of Japan's Spirited Away has officially opened at the London Coliseum, and reviews are rolling in.

Performances of the Studio Ghibili stage adaptation began April 30, and will continue through August 24.

Spirited Away follows 10-year-old Chihiro, who moves to a new home with her parents. After they get lost in a mysterious world and her parents are turned into pigs, the young girl must survive in the strange land and return to the human world.

Returning from the work's original Japanese production are stars Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi as Chihiro, Kotaro Daigo and Hiroki Miura as Haku, Fu Hinami as Lin and Chihiro’s mother, Tomorowo Taguchi and Satoshi Hashimoto as Kamaji, Mari Natsuki and Romi Park as Yubaba and Zeniba, Kenya Osumi as Aniyaku and Chihiro’s father, Sunao Yoshimura as Chichiyaku, Obata no Oniisan as Aogaeru, Yuya Igarashi as Kashira, and Mayu Musha as Bo. Natsuki returns to the role of Yubaba after voicing the character in the 2001 Studio Ghibli film.

The London run also features Rina Kawaei and Momoko Fukuchi as Chihiro, Atsuki Mashiko as Haku, Hikaru Yamano as Kaonashi or "No-Face," Yuki Hana and Rion Misaki as Lin and Chihiro’s mother, Tomu Miyazaki as Kamaji, Hitomi Harukaze as Yubaba and Zeniba, Toshihiko Ito as Chichiyaku, and Seiya Motoki as Aogaeru.

Read the reviews below.

The Arts Desk (Gary Naylor)

CityAM (Steve Dinneen)

Country and Townhouse (Charlie Colville)

The Guardian (Arifa Akbar)

The Independent (Louis Chilton)

iNews (Fiona Mountford)

London Theatre (Marianka Swain)

The Jewish Chronicle (John Nathan)

The New York Times (Matt Wolf)*

The Telegraph (Dominic Cavendish)

TimeOut (Andrzej Lukowski)

The Stage (Sam Marlowe)*

The Standard (Nick Curtis)

The Up Coming (Umar Ali)

*This review may require creating a free account or a paid subscription.

Playbill will continue to update this list as reviews come in.

Completing the company are Miyu Ayahashi, Kaito Arai, Yoko Ose, Wataru Oshige, Motoko Orii, Akino Konno, Ryo Sawamura, Mayu Suetomi, Rico Takahashi, Hayato Takehiro, Saya Chinen, Hanano Teshirogi, Ayame Nakagami, Yuuki Nishinomiya, Rei Hanashima, Yoshiki Fujioka, Norihide Mantani, Eiji Mizuno, Miffy, Maki Morita, Yuna Yasuno, Yamato, Kazuma Kimura, Annakanako Mohri, Marina Mori, and Toshiki Hirose.

John Caird (Les Misérables) brought the Studio Ghibli animated film from Hayao Miyazaki to the stage with a Japanese premiere in 2022. The production, co-adapted by Caird and Maoko Imai, toured Japan and streamed live on Hulu Japan. The London run will be performed in Japanese with English captions.

The show features Joe Hisaishi's film score arranged by Brad Haak, scenic design by Jon Bausor, puppet design by Toby Olié, choreography by Shigehiro Ide, costumes by Sachiko Nakahara, lighting by Jiro Katsushiba, sound design by Koichi Yamamoto, hair and make-up design by Hiroaki Miyauchi, and projection design by Satoshi Kuriyama. Takashi Hojo will be stage manager.

READ: How Spirited Away the Play Uses Puppets to Bring Hayao Miyazaki’s Classic Film to Life

TOHO Co Ltd is producing the London run along with PW Productions Ltd, with Haruka Ogi serving as producer and Iain Gillie as co-producer.

Spirited Away is the second Studio Ghibli film to get a West End stage adaptation. My Neighbor Totoro, adapted from another Miyazaki-directed film, played London's Barbican via Royal Shakespeare Company in 2022.

Tickets are currently on sale at

See photos from the Japanese premiere:

See Production Photos of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away

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