REVIEW: Orangutans, elephant and tiger Running Wild in Sheffield
The Indonesian rainforest is brought to life in this spectacular adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s novel, Running Wild, with the Lyceum stage awash with a life-size elephant, tiger and orangutans as a real life tale, mixed with fantasy, is recreated. Rewind to December 2004 when a tsunami claimed hundreds of thousands of lives after an earthquake in the Indian Ocean. Add to that a newspaper cutting about an eight-year-old girl who escaped death when an elephant she was riding along a beach bolted into the forest just moments before the tidal wave struck and you have the basis of this modern day Jungle Book. Seen though the eyes of a nine-year-old young child, Lilly, played by Jemima Bennett, the rainforest is a place of jaw-dropping wonder at first as the animals run wild and Lilly enjoys her freedom. But the excitement of her adventures with her newfound friends soon diminishes when wild tigers are added to the mix and hunger hits. There are also the hunters to contend with, intent on gunning down the animals Lilly has befriended.
A story of the human fight for survival on one level as Lilly adapts to a life at one with nature, it pulls no punches and also explores the bigger fight to protect the environment and ultimately the world.
With hunters killing animals as trophies and commodities, coupled with the destruction of the rainforest for commercial gain, there are some dramatic scenes, including a fire in which terrified animals run for their lives.
From heartache and horror at the start of the production, with a terrifying scene depicting the devastation the tidal wave caused, the tale blends the harsh reality of the disaster with lighter scenes perfect for children.
Exploring the relationship between humans and animals - as hunters, protectors and equals - it is ultimately a tale of hope.