KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE
Reviewed – 15th August 2017
“Utterly enchanting …”
This story of a thirteen year old witch who has to leave home, accompanied only by her cat, to find a new town where she can be useful, is utterly enchanting. Kiki is played by Jennifer Leong, who is completely believable as an enthusiastic and not always competent young teenage witch. Her companion is Jiji the cat, a deceptively simple puppet brought to life by the skill of Thomas Gilbey. Although the puppet is much smaller than Gilbey we forget that Jiji is not real because he is given such personality through subtlety of movement and voice. Gilbey meows beautifully!
Kiki grows up a little during the play, finding her way through difficulties and excitement with the help of Charleen Qwaye’s Osono, a baker in the town. Qwaye’s warmth in this role is palpable and her patience and care for the young witch are touching. Apart from Leong, all the cast play multiple characters, and they do it with panache and an amazing ability to change both costume and character in seconds.
There are some deliciously camp moments such as Stevie Raine’s fashion designer really not liking Kiki’s dress, and a hilarious array of characters, including bitchy teens, a pompous mayor, an horrendous nephew and a florist with attitude. Matthew Durkan’s Tombo is a sweet boy who is fascinated by flying and who becomes Kiki’s firm friend. Tombo is instantly lovable and Durkan plays him with huge charm. Kiki’s parents, Kokiri and Okino, are played by Kanako Nakano and Stevie Raine. They are the background to Kiki’s adventure, reluctantly sending their daughter off on her new life. Nakano also plays the horrendous nephew with great glee. They are a hugely talented ensemble.
Kate Hewitt’s direction is pitch perfect and bold. She knits together puppetry, some great physical moments and seemingly dozens of characters with a lightness of touch that perfectly suits the story. She uses the space well, creating a believable world and allowing the actors to shine in all their roles. Robin Gulver, the movement and puppet director also deserves a mention here, as the results of his work are superb.
The framework for the action is the beautiful and adaptable set, designed by Simon Bejer. As soon as the audience walk into the theatre the atmosphere is established, with Japanese lanterns and a set that hints at a town, hills and a changeable yet stable landscape. Elliot Griggs’ lighting design is gorgeous and transforms the stage, creating a train, a rainy day and much more besides. The lighting interweaves with Max Peppenheim’s soundscape, making the world of the play vivid and alive. Add to this the simple and lovely video design by Andrzej Goulding and you have real magic.
The story was adapted from a novel by Eiko Kadono and is better known as a fantasy anime produced by Studio Ghibli. Kadono says that the story began when she saw a drawing by her daughter, showing a young witch on a broomstick, with a radio tied to it and music notes flying through the air. She looked at it and ‘all at once Kiki was born.’ I am very glad that her daughter drew the picture, because this play is a delight. Only the most deeply cynical could fail to be charmed by this joyful, innocent tale and there can’t have been any cynics in the clapping, whooping audience this evening! Go and see it. Take the kids. Take your granny. Go with your mates. Enjoy the enchantment one evening in Southwark.
Reviewed by Katre
Photography by Helen Murray
KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE
is at The Southwark Playhouse until 3rd September
THE OLD VIC ANNOUNCES ITS FIRST NATIONAL THEATRE
ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD
TO BE BROADCAST IN PARTNERSHIP WITH NT LIVE ON
20 APRIL 2017
The Old Vic’s 50th anniversary production of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, directed by David Leveaux and with a cast including Daniel Radcliffe, Joshua McGuire and David Haig, will be broadcast live from The Old Vic to cinemas around the UK on 20 April 2017 as part of NT Live (dates vary internationally).
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead is The Old Vic’s first collaboration with NT Live; and also marks the 50th anniversary of the original National Theatre production premiering at The Old Vic on 11 April 1967.
Against the backdrop of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, this mind-bending situation comedy sees two hapless minor characters, Rosencrantz (Daniel Radcliffe) and Guildenstern (Joshua McGuire), take centre stage. Increasingly out of their depth, the young double act stumble their way in and out of the action of this iconic drama. In a literary hall of mirrors, Stoppard’s brilliantly funny, existential labyrinth sees us witness the ultimate identity crisis.
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead previews at The Old Vic from Saturday 25 February, and will run until 29 April.
Artistic Director Matthew Warchus commented:
‘Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead premiered here 50 years ago as a brand new play steeped in theatrical tradition but forging a revolutionary new path in playwriting. It’s thrilling to welcome it home to The Old Vic to celebrate such a momentous anniversary, in a season which sees new writing and classics from the past shoulder to shoulder. Even more so to be able to share this new production with a global audience in our first live performance broadcast from The Old Vic.’
Daniel Radcliffe plays Rosencrantz. Daniel is a stage and screen actor whose most recent work includes the films Now You See Me 2, Swiss Army Man and Imperium, as well as the production of Privacy (Donmar Warehouse on Broadway). Forthcoming work includes Jungle (slated for release in 2017). Theatre credits include The Cripple of Inishmaan (Noël Coward Theatre and Broadway), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Broadway) and Equus (Gielgud Theatre and Broadway). Film work includes Horns (2013), What If (2013), Kill Your Darlings (2013), The Woman in Black (2012) and the eight Harry Potter films. Television includes My Boy Jack written by and co-starring David Haig (ITV),The Gamechangers (BBC telefilm), A Young Doctor’s Notebook, Extras and voice work in The Simpsons, Robot Chicken and BoJack Horseman.
Joshua McGuire plays Guildenstern. Joshua is an actor whose work spans theatre, television and film. Theatre credits include Future Conditional (The Old Vic), The Ruling Class (Trafalgar Studios), Amadeus (Chichester), Privacy (Donmar Warehouse), The Magistrate (National Theatre), Posh (Royal Court and West End), 66 Books (Bush Theatre), Hamlet (Shakespeare’s Globe), Hay Fever (Rose Kingston). Film work includes Old Boys (2017), Claudio in The Complete Walk: Measure for Measure (2016), Bees Make Honey (2016), Cinderella (2015), Mr Turner (2014), Get Santa (2014) and About Time (2013). TV includes Lovesick series 1 and 2, which is currently on Netflix, Love, Nina, Siblings, You, Me and Them, A Young Doctor’s Notebook, The Hour and Misfits.
David Haig plays The Player. David’s most recent theatre credits include Blue/Orange (Young Vic), Guys & Dolls (Savoy Theatre, Olivier Award nomination), and Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me at Chichester Festival Theatre where previous credits include Pressure which was also written by David and Yes, Prime Minister, which transferred to the West End. Other theatre credits include The Madness of George III (Theatre Royal Bath and West End, Olivier Award nomination), Mary Poppins (Prince Edward Theatre, Olivier Award nomination), Hitchcock Blonde (Royal Court and West End), Donkey’s Years (Comedy Theatre, Olivier Award Nomination), Art (Wyndham’s and Broadway), and Our Country’s Good at the Royal Court, for which David won the Olivier Award for Best Actor. Television credits include The Witness for the Prosecution, The Thick Of It, Mo, The 39 Steps, My Boy Jack, Talking Heads and The Thin Blue Line. Film credits include Florence Foster Jenkins and Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Other cast includes Hermeilio Miguel Aquino as Courtier (A View of Her Own Beauty at Bush Theatre), Louisa Beadel as a Player (Future Conditional at The Old Vic), William Chubb as Polonius (King Lear at The Old Vic), Josie Dunn as a Player (After Orlando at Theatre Royal Stratford East/The Vaults), Matthew Durkan as a Player (Nell Gwynn at Apollo Theatre/Shakespeare’s Globe), Tim van Eyken as Laertes/Player (The Little Match Girl, Open Heart Productions), Wil Johnson as Claudius (King Lear at Royal Exchange, Emmerdale, Adulthood), Luke Mullins as Hamlet (Endgame with the Melbourne Theatre Company, Waiting for Godot at The Barbican Centre), Theo Ogundipe as Horatio (Cymbeline at RSC), Marianne Oldham as Gertrude (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas at Chichester Festival Theatre, Sons Without Fathers at The Arcola), Evlyne Oyedokun as a Player (E15, Lung Theatre), Alex Sawyer as a Player (BBC’s Father Brown) and Helena Wilson as Ophelia (Romeo and Juliet, OUDS/Thelma Holt International Tour).
ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD
By Tom Stoppard
The Old Vic
The Cut, London SE1 8NB
Sat 25 Feb – Sat 29 Apr 2017
Mon – Sat 7.30pm; Wed & Sat 2.30pm
Captioned Performance: Thu 6 Apr 7.30pm
Audio Described Performance:
Tue 4 Apr 7.30pm, touch tour 6pm
National Theatre Live broadcast – 20th April
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