THEATRE REVIEW: Running Wild ★★★
Belgrade Theatre, Belgrade
Thursday 23rd February 2017
As Lilly goes to Indonesia to learn more about her mother’s side of the family after her father dies in the war, we are treated to beautiful backdrops and slick transitions in this production of Running Wild, which basically gives War Horse a literal run for it’s money due to the stunning puppetry in this production from animals such as Oona the Elephant, and the multiple orangutans ot the tiger in the heart of the forest. Running Wild is a phenomenal piece of theatre with such a heartwarming story about a young girl’s love for animals when everything she once had is now lost.
Even though the whole promotion for this show has indicated a children show, there are moments of dark material in this production, which is no criticism as I believe it is vital to show the dangers of being in a world with animal hunters and death because it is these moments that show the truth of what is happening in our world and not sugar-coating over the facts of a country like Indonesia. India Brown, the young performer who portrayed Lilly, was such an inspiration to this whole production who completely kept the audience on the edge of their seats as we were completely compelled to her character. To have the ability to act alongside the puppet animals and bring them to life on stage is such a talent o have, and probably comes naturally to Brown due to her experience on stage in Lion King as Young Nala.
There were some real standout moments in this production, but one that I really wanted to talk about in this production was the initial run away from the tsunami which involved Oona stomping towards the jungle, but the way it was portrayed on stage was the puppet almost running towards on whilst staying stationary, with the other performers on stage facing the audience, either side of Oona, running stationary again but in slow motion. It was incredibly effective and really showed the sheer talent in the company, completely syncing up with the incredible lighting design from James Whiteside.
Overall, Running Wild was an incredible show which I do believe could be marketed to suit a more grown up audience, as I was a little apprehensive before walking into the auditorium thinking I was going to be watching a young children's show, but ultimately coming away from watching the production to be blown away from the passion and dedication from the whole company involved, and also making me think that this production could easily fit within the west end one day due to the slick and the feel of completion it gave off to myself and the whole audience, where some were on their feet at the end of the performance.