Wow. Just wow. The mesmerising atmosphere of The Vault combined with the sheer energy of the actors really is quite something - plus the special effects! I've genuinely never seen anything like it, and will never forget it. I'm going to try and go again! At that price it is seriously a steal. I'm still in shock!!!
Howl's Moving Castle
Until Sat Jan 7 2012
© Jane Hobson
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Mon Dec 5 2011
Southwark Playhouse’s heroically ambitious Christmas show isn’t fringe theatre as we know it. It’s part play, part animation, and has been adapted from a Diana Wynne Jones fantasy novel that most sane folks would deem unstageable and includes a dulcet voiceover from Stephen Fry as the narrator and a soundtrack from The Guillemots’ Fyfe Dangerfield.
It’s just a shame that, for all the audacious technological trickery in Davy and Kristin McGuire’s production, Mike Sizemore’s adaptation seems to have misjudged the age of its audience. Children were in evidence when I attended but the majority of the crowd were adults, presumably long term fans of the book or animated film.
This hour-long distillation of the story of Sophie – a young girl cursed by a witch and taken in by the peripatetic fortress of loopy wizard Howl – breezes by too quickly. Jaw-dropping snowy vistas are projected on to the impressive cardboard castle set that dominates the performance space. Fry’s voice is as soothing as mulled wine, and Daniel Ings is deliciously mad as Howl.
But, atmospheric as it all is, there’s no room for character development or for us really to savour Wynne Jones’s world. Fair enough for the attention spans of little ones, perhaps, but half an hour of fleshing out would have made this much more dramatically satisfying for adults.
Average User Rating
3.4 / 5
- 5 star:7
- 4 star:0
- 3 star:2
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:4
I agree with the TO review - interesting staging and use of film as a backdrop, but they really didn't think through the audience age - I think kids would have preferred this, not enough character development for adults. I didn't know the story beforehand and felt like it would have helped to have read the book before coming. I also felt that there were very odd clashes in characterisation between the actors, with both Howl and the older Sophie playing relatively natural roles and the witch being played in an intensely physical, unnaturalalistuc way (which she did very well nevertheless). Possibly had this show been prepared mainly with kids in mind, both other characters could also have been played in a more physical style. The SM on this show did a fantasic job, she had about a billion cues which she nailed.
Really enjoyed it with my five year old. The effects and projections were stunning. Many times my son was saying "Wow" to himself and the same response was heard from some of the other children in the audience. He volunteered a standing ovation at the end. Well worth the £30 it cost for two.
Disapointing. There is over reliance on the visual effects which gets tiresome. The quality of acting is not very good either - I didn't find the characters very convicing or that entertaining. Glad it only lasted 70mins!
The set and the effects are very well done, however, I felt the acting and character portrayal left a lot to be desired.
i haven't read the book or watched the film so watched it on its own merits. I thought it was super to watch, with great humour & theatrics! Be great to watch it again in fact if i am in london again before it finishes.
My 18 yr old niece and boyfriend big Miyasaki fans thought it was Absolutly brilliant and wouldn't fault it they loved it.
My daughter loved it (she's 10). Agree it's aimed more at Children then adults, but the amazing projections kept me occupied.. I enjoyed it.
Disappointing. Having seen the film and read the book, I had high hopes for the live experience (and was willing to judge it on its own merits) but I felt short changed.
Stunning set design and video projection, blighted by unnecessary cheap gags, badly timed and often just bad acting and drained the magic of the story.