Sputnik Sweetheart stage adaptation comes to London’s Arcola Theatre

Haruki Murakami’s acclaimed novel Sputnik Sweetheart comes to the stage at Arcola Theatre this autumn.

The book is brought to stage by Tony Award nominee Bryony Lavery (Frozen, The Book of Dust) and Tony and Olivier Award nominee Melly Still (My Brilliant Friend, Coram Boy).

Partly a story of love and loneliness, partly a detective story, the production runs at the Arcola Theatre from 26 October – 25 November 2023.

Following their partnership on The Lovely Bones, Lavery and Still join forces once again on the story of Sumire, a young Japanese writer who can’t find the words to write, who styles herself on Jack Kerouac and who falls head-over-heels in love with Miu, 17 years her senior.

But when Sumire goes missing on a Greek Island, her best friend K’s search for her unearths more questions than answers. Sputnik Sweetheart journeys through Tokyo, Italy, Switzerland, Greece, and an intangible space of shifting realities. Murakami’s story is about doing whatever it takes to overcome loneliness and rest in certainty.

Casting is to be announced.

The production design by Shizuka Hariu, lighting design by Malcom Rippeth, animation by Sonoko Obuchi and sound design/composition by Oto Tatsujiro.

Director Melly Still said: “Sumire discovers that her struggle to become a writer occupies the same space as the one that consumes her heart. The characters lose themselves in love and become shadows in the face of desire. The sense of longing, like a sputnik, never lands. Trying to work out a Murakami story, we find ourselves dwelling in that same floating space: to problem solve we have to use our imaginations, something unique to humans, unmatched by AI.”

Arcola Theatre’s Artistic Director, Mehmet Ergen added: “We’re thrilled to be producing Haruki Murakami’s Sputnik Sweetheart in the first ever major stage adaptation of his much-loved novel. We couldn’t be more fortunate to have Bryony Lavery and Melly Still joining forces to bring this play from page to stage, along with an incredible team of creatives working with them to bring the show to life. Think detective mystery turned soul searching quest for love, with a sprinkling of the magical realism we all know and love Murakami for.”

Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami was first published in Japan in 1999 and the English translation in 2001.

For more information and tickets, visit arcolatheatre.com

About the author: Josh Darvill

Josh is Stageberry's editor with over five years of experience writing about theatre in the West End and across the UK. Prior to following his passion for musicals, he worked for more than a decade as a TV journalist.


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