Running Wild Stampedes into Blackpool! Don't Miss it!
On Tuesday, the VisitBlackpool team went along to the Blackpool Grand Theatre to see the brand new show that has stampeded into town, Running Wild. The show brings to life Michael Morpurgo’s popular children’s book, which is based on a true story about the 2004 tsunami disaster in Indonesia.
We intentionally didn’t read too much about this show, as its remarkable reviews spoke for themselves, but we did know that the show featured really lifelike puppets, and we had the pleasure of meeting the gorgeous Oona a few weeks ago!
Settling into our seats surrounded by excited families, we couldn’t wait for the show to begin.
Following a family tragedy, Lilly and her mum fly away for a wonderful holiday to Indonesia. Meant to be a fresh start, Lilly is excited for the chance to ride an elephant called Oona. But then the tsunami hit.
Whilst riding on Oona’s back, the tsunami begins thundering towards the shore, and with Lilly in tow, Oona escapes the danger of the beach and into the jungle.
Initially terrified and devastated at her separation from her mum, Lilly becomes enchanted by the magic of the rainforest. Before long, hunger pangs set in, tigers draw close and the threat of poachers becomes very real.
The puppetry was exceptional in this performance. Oona was the leading lady, but there was a tiger, lots of orangutans, kite-like kingfishers and silky fish. The amazing crew bringing these creatures to life personified each creature with fantastic characteristics that charmed the whole audience.
The sets were also amazingly versatile and expressive, with added drama from the colourful lighting and use of smoke and fire. We loved that speakers had been set up throughout the seating area through which noises of tweeting birds and the flurry of insects played, making us feel like we were lost in the jungle with Lilly and her menagerie of friends. The blue fabric that represented the tsunami was so simple in design, but the way it was moved by the puppeteers actually took our breath away.
The story is so moving, and we’re quite content to admit that we were very misty-eyed by the time the curtain fell. The production is very emotional, and encourages all of us to think about love, loss, loyalty and of living for the moment in a very positive way.
Whilst we think the subject matter is more accessible to older primary school children, younger tots will still be transfixed by the show with its highly visual performance and sensory nature.
This is what one of our colleagues thought: “Such a moving story and told in a very atmospheric and creative way. The puppetry was amazing and so lifelike. The detail from the puppeteers was remarkable, taking on the actual persona of the animals both visually as well as aurally. The portrayal of Lilly by Jemima Bennett was fantastic holding the audience from start to finish. Well done to everyone and highly recommended.”
We cannot recommend a visit to see Running Wild enough; it was a moving and visually stunning imagining of a much-loved tale, and provides a gentle means to discuss some important topics with family whilst enjoying a lovely time at the theatre together.
The show runs until Saturday, 8th April and tickets can be booked at blackpoolgrand.co.uk or by phone on 01253 290190.