Howl's Moving Castle Stage Show Now Running in Southwark

posted on by Andrew Osmond
New version of the fantasy novel adapted by Hayao Miyazaki.

A stage version of the novel Howl's Moving Castle, filmed in 2004 by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, is now running at the Southwark Playhouse in London (near London Bridge station, map). The run is scheduled to continue until January 7. The 1986 novel was written by the acclaimed British fantasy author Diana Wynne Jones, who passed on in March 2011.

The 70-minute stage version is directed and designed by Davy and Kristin McGuire, with music by Fyfe Dangerfield of the BRIT-nominated band The Guillemots. Quoted in a report on the BBC website, Dangerfield said, “"Some people may come expecting to see a stage version of the [Ghibli] film and it's nothing like it really. I still haven't actually read the book but it's definitely based more on that… In a way I didn't want to [read the novel], it was partially a conscious decision because I've seen the film and this is so different and it's the same with the book.”

Kristin McGuire says she and her co-director “read the book and then we watched the film but Davy stopped halfway through and said: 'I can't watch the rest because I want to make something new." According to a three-star review of the play on the Time Out website, “Jaw-dropping snowy vistas are projected on to the impressive cardboard castle set that dominates the performance space.”

The show includes voice-over narration by Stephen Fry, who, coincidentally, will appear in another Christmas retelling of a novel previously adapted by Studio Ghibli. Fry takes a role in the BBC's new feature-length version of Mary Norton's The Borrowers, which was transposed to Tokyo as Ghibli's Arrietty aka The Secret World of Arrietty.

The cast of the stage Howl includes Daniel Ings as the titular Welsh wizard; co-director Kristin McGuire playing young Sophie and the Witch of the Waste; and James Wilkes as the fire demon Calcifer. The old Sophie is played by prolific actress Susan Sheridan, whose voice-roles include a part in the anime Fire Tripper, although she's more famous for voicing Trillian in the radio The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The stage adaptation is by Mike Sizemore.

The schedule and availability can be seen by clicking “Buy Tickets” on this page. Performances are at 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday, with some additional matinee showings at 3 p.m. As of writing, several of the Saturday performances are already sold out. There are no performances from 24 to 26 December, or on 31 December or 1 January.

Tickets are £16, £14 concessions or £50 for a family ticket.

Via Otaku News twitter feed.

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