Running Wild

The Grand Theatre in Blackpool hosted roaring tigers and stomping elephants for a fierce performance on 4 April

Hero image

Based on a true story and Michael Morpurgo’s novel – adapted for the stage by Samuel Adamson – the audience journeys with a young girl named Lilly who is rescued from the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami by an elephant named Oona. Forced to survive without her parents Lilly encounters extraordinary creatures, both adorable and terrifying, in the Indonesian jungle and not all of them are as helpful as her friend. Unknowingly Lilly is not the only human to call the jungle her home and soon she is face to face with the self-proclaimed king of the jungle.

Morpurgo’s novel is spectacularly brought to life under direction of Timothy Sheader and Dale Rooks in a colourful and creative production. Beautifully built puppets dominated the stage and audible sighs of endearment arose from the audience each time graceful Oona made her appearance. The operation of the puppets was in itself enchanting to watch. Actors on stage managed to perfectly encompass the noise, physicality and personality of each of the animals they portrayed.

However drawn to the puppets the audience was this piece is not a one trick pony. The performance remained engaging at all times with an excellent blend of physical theatre, set design and pre-recorded speech. This combination provided a rich and visually stunning theatrical adventure while well considered scripting maintained the strong moral message the novel delivers.

This piece of theatre is a perfect example of how enriching productions can be for younger audiences and it was delightful to see the seats filled on opening night. On exiting the Grand many of the younger members in the audience could be heard excitingly giving parents their own thoughts and opinions about the struggles faced by Lilly. It was clear that the production team had delivered a truly wild experience for them.

Read our interview with Running Wild puppeteer Darcy Collins

If you liked this article, we think you’ll enjoy these:

Interact: Responses to Review:
Running Wild

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.