Tag Archives: Michael Morpurgo

Review: Michael Morpurgo’s Running Wild, The Lowry Theatre

The UK Tour of Michael Morpurgo’s Running Wild is currently in residence at The Lowry, Salford Quays. I went along on the first night of the run to watch the show and discover more about this extraordinary story. 

Loosely based on the true story of a girl’s survival of the 2004 Tsunami; Michael Morpurgo’s novel, Running Wild, is a wonderful and inspiring story, brought to life in this award-winning production. Like War Horse before it, Running Wild centres around spectacular life-size puppets and tells a moving story of love, loss and loyalty.

Review: Michael Morpurgo’s Running Wild, The Lowry Theatre

Running Wild tells the story of a girl called Lilly. Following the death of her father, she goes on holiday with her mother to Indonesia. Whilst taking a ride on Oona the elephant Lilly is caught up in the Boxing Day tsunami. Oona, sensing danger suddenly runs from the beach deep into the jungle with Lilly on her back, ultimately saving her life.

The story continues with Lilly’s struggles to find food and survive in the jungle; a confrontation with a beautiful tiger, bonding with a buffoonery (family) of orangutans and a devastating encounter with a group of hunters in the rainforest. 

This production of Running Wild is suitable for ages 6+. It’s not always an easy watch and there were times when a tear or two rolled down my cheek. The deaths of both of her parents and the traumatic effects of the tsunami were touched on but thankfully not dwelt upon. 

The portrayal of the hunters was unflinching and at times brutal. Running Wild does bang the drum of conservationism and the destruction of rainforests in the pursuit of the production of palm oil. It’s not always subtle, but it is a drum worth banging. If Running Wild helps to raise awareness of the devastation of the rainforests for palm oil, then so much the better. 

Review: Michael Morpurgo’s Running Wild, The Lowry Theatre

There were some funny and touching moments too. In particular Lilly playing with Frankie the orangutan and bonding with Oona the elephant. 

Lilly, confidently played by 13 year old Jemima Bennett is a talent. She is at the heart of the production and pulls off an accomplished and moving performance. Of course the real star of Running Wild is Oona the elephant, expertly handled by four puppeteers. Oona is incredibly life-like, you just want to reach out and stroke her trunk.

All of the puppet creatures; from the tiger, to the crocodile, the wriggling fish and the family of orangutans are beautifully done. The puppeteers are all fantastic, there but not there, so you focus on the creature and not the puppeteer. Amazing work.

Running Wild is a bold production. It’s not always an easy thing to watch, but ultimately the story is compelling and uplifting. Theatre like this makes you want to read about the subject, look at the products in your bathroom cabinet and do your bit for conservation. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

The UK tour of Running Wild supports the Born Free Foundation’s global elephant conservation projects.

Running Wild has a running time of 90 minutes with a 20 minute interval. It also contains flashing lights and loud bangs.

Running Wild is on at The Lowry, Salford Quays 18 – 22 April 2017. To book tickets call the Box office on 0843 208 6000 or visit The Lowry website.

Further information about the full UK tour can be found here.

Preview: Running Wild at The Lowry, Salford Quays

This spring, catch the UK Tour of Running Wild, based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo and adapted for stage by Samuel Adamason. Running Wild is coming to The Lowry, Salford Quays from 18-22 April 2017. 

Michael Morpurgo’s novel, Running Wild, is loosely based on the true story of a girls survival of the 2004 Tsunami. This wonderful and inspiring story is brought to life in this award-winning production. Originally produced by Regent’s Park Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre; this epic production comes complete with spectacular life-size puppets and tells an emotional and moving story of love, loss and loyalty and of living for the moment.

Preview: Running Wild at The Lowry, Salford Quays

Running Wild is the story is of a girl called Lilly, who, whilst on holiday with her mother in Indonesia, takes an elephant ride.  During the ride, Oona, the elephant, suddenly becomes anxious and runs from the beach deep into the jungle.  With Lilly on her back, they escape moments before the tsunami hits the island.  Miles from civilisation, at first there’s wonder, discovery and tree-top adventures with the orangutans. Eventually her thoughts turn to her mother left behind on the beach, and wild tigers prowl, and hunger hits, Lilly must now learn to survive the rainforest.  And then the hunters come…

Preview: Running Wild at The Lowry, Salford Quays
Michael Morpurgo is the former children’s laureate and the acclaimed author of War Horse. He was inspired by the real-life story of Amber Owen, who was on holiday in Phuket with her mother and stepfather in 2004. When she went on an elephant ride along the beach, the girl noticed the elephant was trying to pull away from the receding sea water.  “He ran away and, as the water came in, I was safely on his back.  He saved my life.” 

When he read Amber’s story in the newspaper, Michael Morpurgo said it was the one bit of hope amid the devastation of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.  The production supports the Born Free Foundation’s global elephant conservation projects.

This production of Running Wild is suitable for ages 6+ and has a running time of 90 minutes with a 20 minute interval.

Running Wild is on at The Lowry, Salford Quays 18 – 22 April 2017. To book tickets call the Box office on 0843 208 6000 or visit The Lowry website.

Further information about the full UK tour can be found here.