"Wonderful display of life-like animals"
by Jill Lawrie for remotegoat on 15/02/17

Originally produced by Chichester Festival Theatre and Regents Park Theatre, The Children’s Touring Partnership now bring Samuel Adamson’s adaptation of “Running Wild” to Chichester for a limited and near sell-out run. Incredible complex puppetry from Tobie Olie and Finn Caldwell ensure the production is outstanding. Building on the huge success of “War Horse” at the National Theatre (the first show to feature a puppet as the main character) this collection of jungle creatures are startlingly life-like. Written by one of the UK’s most prolific and popular storytellers ~ Michael Morpurgo who admits Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” and “The Elephant’s Child” were childhood favourites and thus sowed the seed for “Running Wild”.
Young Lilly has a passion for elephants and on a Christmas holiday to Sri Lanka she gets the chance to ride a beach elephant called Oona. But the devastating tsunami hits on Boxing Day and the elephant charges deep into the jungle to escape the danger on the beach carrying the young girl to a place of wonder and adventure. Here she finds not only entertaining orangutans, sinister crocodile and a terrifying tiger but also the menacing sight of poaching, landscape decimation and ultimately sanctuary.

The imaginative set has an impressive array of mass debris overhanging the stage and giant curtains effectively simulate the giant wave.

Jemima Bennett impresses as the young Chelsea supporter Lilly giving a passionate and emotional portrayal of the youngster cruelly robbed of her parents. Fine support too from Liz Crowther (Grandma) in her quest to locate the fledgling environmentalist. The highly skilled puppeteers ensure the convincing and quite spectacular elephant Oona always takes centre stage.

A remarkable and challenging production with a strong warning for conservation.

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