December means it’s time for theatre and pantomimes, amongst other things! Even if you think you’re past the age of seeing pantomimes or don’t have children to take to see one, that’s not an excuse to not go to the theatre. Sometimes a light-hearted story is just what we need.
That’s why I was super excited when I found out the Southwark Playhouse was presenting Kiki’s Delivery Service over the Christmas period (running until 8 January 2017 – get your tickets here). The play is based on the novel by Eiko Kadono, which of course inspired the amazing Studi Ghibli film. You don’t need to be a fan of Japanese cinema to appreciate this play, though.
At the age of 13, Kiki must leave home to make a new life for herself and find somewhere where she can use her powers for good. Accompanied only with her mother’s old broomstick and her talking cat, Jiji, she arrives in a new town that is far from welcoming and establishes a delivery service of all things.
Southwark Theatre’s stage is fairly small, meaning the performance immediately feels more intimate. The cast consists of only six, with most people changing costumes and characters with impressive speed, and Kiki’s Delivery Service really does feel like a project that’s had a lot of love poured into it by the people involved. I particularly liked Alice Hewkin as Kiki, Paksie Vernon as Asano, the expectant mother who takes her in.
The best ‘prop’ by far is the puppet Jiji, who’s expertly operated and voiced (quite sassily) by Matthew Forbes. You quickly forget there’s a man moving around with and crouching over the puppet.
Speaking of ‘forgetting something’s there’, there’s a lot of “special effects” taking place on stage that involve people running around – such as Kiki’s broom flying. Again, you don’t feel like you’re watching an amateur production on a tiny budget. The ideas here are big and you’re swept up in the magic of it all. I almost felt like a child again watching this play.
I highly recommend catching Kiki’s Delivery Service, whether you’re a Studio Ghibli fan or just want a nice evening out. Basically, anyone who still possesses a child-like but powerful imagination.
(Witches’) hats off to director Kate Hewitt and everyone else involved in this wonderful performance! I loved it!