The moving true story of a young child being saved by an elephant when a tsunami hit the island they were on inspired Michael Morpurgo to write Running Wild.
And now his book has been adapted for the stage, bringing the story of Lilly and Oona the elephant to theatres across the country in an epic production with spectacular life size puppets telling an emotional and moving story of love, loss and loyalty, writes Heather Jan Brunt.
Lilly is on holiday with her mother in Indonesia and takes an elephant ride. But during the ride Oona becomes anxious and runs from the beach deep into the jungle. With Lilly on her back they escape moments before a tsunami hits the island.
Miles from civilisation, at first there is wonder, discovery and tree-top adventures with the orangutans, but as thoughts turn to her mother left behind on the beach, and wild tigers prowl and hunger hits, Lilly must learn to survive the rainforest. And then the hunters come ...
Michael Morpurgo, the former children’s laureate and author of War Horse, 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.
While riding Ning Nong along the beach the eight-year-old noticed he was attempting to pull away from the receding sea water.
She said: “He ran away and as the water came in I was safely on his back. He saved my life.”
Running Wild will be at the Wycombe Swan theatre from Tuesday March 14 - Saturday 18. Tickets from £21.50.
For details of all performance times and ticket prices, and to book online go to www.wycombeswan.co.uk or call the box office on 01494 512000.