There’s not a superlative that hasn’t been used or is not justified to describe The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of My Neighbour Totoro.
The stage adaption of Hayao Miyazaki’s seminal and unsurpassed feat of fantasy animation is a remarkable and beguiling show about simple, peaceful emotions that is truly mood changing.
And therein lies the sheer beauty of this show at London’s Barbican Centre – a warm and friendly story that just made me feel good after watching it.
This enchanting coming-of-age story explores the magical fantasy world of childhood and the transformative power of imagination, as it follows one extraordinary summer in the lives of sisters Satsuki (Ami Okumura Jones) and Mei (Mei Mac).
In order to be closer to their mother while she recovers from an illness in a rural convalescent hospital, their father Hiroshi (Andrew Futaishi) moves the family to the countryside. As the girls explore their beautiful new surroundings, Mei encounters magical creatures and the ancient protector of the forest she calls Totoro.
Although Satsuki doesn’t believe her little sister at first, they are soon both swept up in exciting adventures with their new neighbours – transported to a long-forgotten realm of spirits, sprites, and natural wonder.
Conveyed with astonishing puppetry and with musical and visual storytelling which are meditative and magical, My Neighbour Totoro is a theatrical tour de force – you really must see it to believe it.
Winner of six Olivier Awards and five WhatsOnStage Awards first time around, My Neighbour Totoro’s current limited run at the Barbican ends on Saturday March 23 and includes a range of accessible performances.
Wed 28 Feb, 7pm
· Audio Described
Wednesday 28 February, 7pm (Touch Tour 5.00 – 5.30pm)
· Integrated BSL Interpreter
Friday 9 February, 7pm
· Relaxed (Audio Described & Captioned)
Sat 17 Feb, 2pm (Touch Tour 12.00 – 12.30pm)
Written by Tom Morton-Smith and with music by Joe Hisaishi (who composed the film score), My Neighbour Totoro is a thing of beauty. See it if you can, and add your own superlative to what the reviewers have already listed – magnificent, outstanding, peerless, superb, transcendent, and unparalleled.
For full accessibility details and video Access Guide to the Barbican Centre go to https://www.barbican.org.uk/your-visit/accessibility or https://totoroshow.com/
Photos by Manuel Harlan © RSC with Nippon TV