The Garden of Words
Closed 1h 45m
The Garden of Words
69

The Garden of Words London Reviews and Tickets

69%
(11 Ratings)
Positive
55%
Mixed
36%
Negative
9%
Members say
Enchanting, Ambitious, Confusing, Great staging, Delightful

About the Show

The world premiere of the stage adaptation of the 2013 Anime film about an unlikely friendship.

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Show-Score Member Reviews (11)

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139 Reviews | 11 Followers
55
Great staging, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if Atmospheric staging but weak story.

Don't see it if You think its going to be like Totoro....a bit sweary for small children.

21 Reviews | 0 Followers
80
Great staging, Poetic, Confusing, Clever, Enchanting

See it if you love puppets, anime, diversity of culture and audience, lighting, sweet story albeit with a slight edge

Don't see it if if you want a flawless show and cannot handle being lost on occasion

23 Reviews | 1 Follower
70
Thought-provoking, Slow, Delightful

See it if You like deep shows. Bonus points if you've seen the anime.

Don't see it if You are triggered by mental health issues, and you are looking for a happy show.

12 Reviews | 0 Followers
84
Intelligent, Great staging, Absorbing

See it if you like quiet play with a lot of tensions

Don't see it if don't like play build up by emotions

9 Reviews | 0 Followers
100
Absorbing, Entertaining, Enchanting, Delightful

See it if The show was so lovely and well acted by the cast. It brought the anime film to life on the stage.

Don't see it if I just thought it was very good and didn't have anything negative about the production.

7 Reviews | 0 Followers
60
Clever, Delightful, Confusing, Ambitious, Enchanting

See it if You are open to different style of theatre and enjoy thought provoking , and atmospheric theatre which slowly builds the characters and plot

Don't see it if You like fast paced story and detailed plot with lots of action as play meanders along . Suspect helps if you know the anime story

4 Reviews | 0 Followers
72
Sad, Great backdrop, Enchanting, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if You like adaptations from Studio Ghibli.

Don't see it if You like straightforward narrative

2 Reviews | 0 Followers
53
Slow, Ambitious

See it if You’re a diehard Anime fan & you will be utterly captivated by this true to form stage adaptation.

Don't see it if You want flowing dialogue

Critic Reviews (8)

BroadwayWorld
August 16th, 2023

“The best elements of the show are KENNY’s video work and Nicola T. Chang’s sound design creating an otherness that sends us to another place without losing its connection with the real world...As it stands, it’s gorgeous to look at, but the garden’s magical haven remains too inaccessible for us on the other side of the fourth wall.”
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The London Evening Standard
August 16th, 2023

“The creators of this stage production have taken Makoto Shinkai’s delicate, subtle 46-minute Japanese anime about two lonely people and turned it into something galumphingly obvious and more than twice as long. Though moments of beauty peep through, Alexandra Rutter’s production doesn’t really work as a tribute to the 2013 film or as a piece of theatre in its own right.”
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London Theatre
August 17th, 2023

“I’m not sure we really need a swooping bird to illuminate notions of release, and the piece feels padded as if pushing back against the seeming artlessness of a film whose gently capricious engagement is missing here...’The Garden of Words’ may need more watering, but the soil is rich enough to hope that the material is cultivated anew elsewhere.”
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The Stage (UK)
August 17th, 2023

"This adaptation... lacks the downbeat simplicity of Shinkai’s original version, adding in heavy-handed symbolism and a clutter of underdeveloped subplots."
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All That Dazzles (UK)
August 17th, 2023

“While there are some fantastic elements to this production, namely the visual aspects, the main story is a bit of a misfire. At its heart, ‘The Garden of Words’ is about connection, and that is the biggest problem with this show – it failed to connect.”
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Time Out London
August 16th, 2023

“The net impression is one of too many gaps – of something missing here both in terms of plot and, importantly, emotional nuance. For a show that pivots on language, the script – which also draws on Shinkai’s subsequent novelisation of his film – often feels overly perfunctory as it tries to encompass everyone crowding the stage. This is a beautiful but flawed adaptation. A more streamlined version could truly blossom.”
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Everything Theatre (UK)
August 17th, 2023

“Despite the issues with the character development and the way in which the narrative is communicated, the set design and music are both beautiful...The Garden of Words introduces the concept of how a brief and momentary encounter can shape the life of an individual, and should be applauded for its attempt to incorporate the Japanese language and poetry in its storytelling.”
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Lost in Theatreland (UK)
August 17th, 2023

“The music, by Mark Choi, and the sound design, by Nicola T. Chang, are gorgeous. They’re the closest we get to the emotional effect we should expect from this play. Everything else seems to be superficially touched upon and I’m wondering if a different perspective on the script could’ve done the trick, where it leans more on the metaphors and motifs that make the movie so eloquent.”
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