Studio Ghibli's ebullient story of a young witch trying to make her way in the world, Kiki's Delivery Service, is about to shed its anime exterior and become a live-action play in London. Visitors can expect a different beast entirely than the film, as Dazed reports that the play will also draw from Japanese children's author Eiko Kadano's 1985 book of the same name.
UK writer Jessica Sian is set to adapt the story for the stage, and it will be directed by Katie Hewitt, the Ian McKellen-approved winner of the inaugural RTST Director Award. Flight, magic, and a talking cat named Jiji are crucial to legendary Studio Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki's sixth, so we're looking forward to seeing the imaginative stage techniques Sian and Hewitt will use to convey the whimsy fans expect, while Miyazaki himself is hard at work on his first 3D animated short film, Boro the Caterpillar.
In 2014, Kiki's Delivery Service was also adapted in Japan as a live-action film by The Grudge director Takashi Shimizu, but it was critically panned. The Kiki's Delivery Service play, however, follows in the footsteps of a hugely successful 2013 adaptation of Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke by Whole Hog Theatre, which sold out in London and Tokyo. Kiki's is also in lock-step with the trend of on-stage book adaptations continued by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which opened at the Palace Theatre last month. Needless to say, we've got high hopes.
Kiki’s Delivery Service opens at Southwark Playhouse on December 8 and will play through January 8, 2017.