The Studio Ghibli adaptation of My Neighbour Totoro is returning to London this winter — and we're betting it's going to be one of the biggest theatre events of the Christmas holiday.
The constantly sold-out, six Olivier Award-winning staging is from the RSC and Joe Hisaishi, composer of the original film soundtrack.
We caught it at the Barbican in 2022, thanks to a friend who had the foresight to book months in advance. It sold out fast, breaking the theatre's previous record for sales in one day (held by 2015's Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch) — probably thanks to the way it sits in the sweet spot of being both magical for kids coming to Studio Ghibli's surreal, luminous fantasy world for the first time, and also for longstanding adult fans of the 1988 film.
For those who haven't seen either, it's somewhere between a coming-of-age story and a fable, told in its stage form through huge, elaborate sets that shift from village to forest to school, small and huge-scale puppetry, and a small orchestra performing a new arrangement of the original score.
The story follows kid sisters Satsuki and Mei, whose father moves with them to a small village to be nearer the hospital where their mother's ill. Left often to look after themselves, the children are drawn more and more into the forest that borders their village — peopled with magical creatures, and protected by an ancient being, Totoro.