Last night I attended Michael Morpurgo’s production of Running Wild in an adaptation by Samuel Adamson at The Kings Theatre, Edinburgh. Directed by Timothy Sheader and Dale Rooks with puppetry design and direction by Finn Caldwell and Toby Olié, both previous Associate Puppetry Directors on War Horse.
The theatre audience was a real mix of people, from large groups of children, couples, and parents/grandparents with their little ones. With the noise level on a high with the pre ~excitement of the show. Then suddenly the lights dimmed and a total hush fell over the audience. There would be not a peep or a rustle of a sweetie bag. As Running Wild soaked into our hearts and minds.
The idea for this book came from a newspaper article about Amber Owen, who was saved from the 2004 tsunami by an elephant whom she was riding at the time. Morpurgo was also influenced by The Jungle Book and “The Elephant’s Child”, his two favourite stories from his childhood.
The Puppetry of the animals is out of this world. Your mind does trick you into believing the animals are real. They have such a powerful stage presence. The team who control the puppets must work for such a long time to get it synchronised perfectly.
The story has some hard-hitting themes, from the poaching in the rainforest, the palm oil trade and the effects it has on the environment. The core of the story being the loss of the little girl’s (Lily) parents and how a family can come from the strangest of places. Actress India Brown works together with the puppets beautifully. Some of the scenes would not be acceptable for very small children. The guidance rating for the production is 6+
I came away from the show uplifted, mesmerised by the memorable performance.
The show runs until the 6th of May at The Kings Theatre ~ you can book your tickets here ~ Edinburgh Theatres ~ Website
Thanks to @edtheatres for allowing me the honour of reviewing the show.