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My Neighbour Totoro - beasts don’t come more fantastic than this!

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Many of our Year 7-9 students enjoyed a trip to the Barbican theatre in London recently to enjoy the wonderfully animated show My Neighbour Totoro. Here is Ms McCormack's report from the day:

The hot theatrical ticket of this academic year was not rapping American founding fathers, nor Hollywood A-Listers playing Hamlet, but a giant rabbit-like beast who lives in a camphor tree in the heart of the Japanese countryside. My Neighbour Totoro, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s adaptation of a much loved 1988 Studio Ghibli animation, sold out its Barbican run in record time. Faster even than Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet in 2015. Redmaids’ High was very very lucky to acquire enough tickets to take a party of students from Year's 7-9 last week - what a way to welcome in the New Year and the new term!

The show is extraordinary; beautifully staged with its magical creatures compellingly realised by a team of mischievous puppeteers. And the story telling is a treat: it is a gentle, but powerful narrative in which nothing much happens but everything is - literally - of life-and-death importance to the two protagonists: Satsuki, aged 10 and Mei, aged 4. A lovely, thought-provoking contrast to the event-driven narratives that tend to dominate western story telling. But nothing quite prepares you for the joy of the puppets - from a scene-stealing flock of chickens to the first appearance of gigantic Totoro himself (herself?) with Mei perched on his furry belly like a tired oxpecker snuggling down on the back of a hippo, his giant pink tongue lolling from his mouth like an animated duvet - every moment of puppeteering was a breath-taking delight.  

And to make the trip even better, the Redmaids’ High party were an absolute delight to be with. Sensible enough that the staff didn’t need to worry about them and could really enjoy their day; engaged enough to have really interesting responses to and insights into the show to discuss afterwards. A huge thank you to all those who came and made the trip such a pleasure - it really made everyone feel great about coming back to school!

 

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Date Posted: 17 January, 2023

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