Director Andrew Loudon and adaptor Emma Reeves have fashioned a splendid and affecting stage version of Nina Bawdon's slightly mysterious, World War II, coming of age novel, first published in 1973. There is certainly no need to have read the book before you watch the show though you might be drawn to do so afterwards. The adaptation does, like many novel to stage versions, suffer a little from necessary leaps in the story but that doesn't spoil the many pleasures of this entertaining touring show.
A strong cast tell the tale with a welcome simplicity. Notable performances come from Sarah Edwardson as Carrie, James Byng as her gluttonous little brother and Antony Eden as the bookish, fellow evacuee, Albert Sandwich. As the adults, there are especially strong performances, from, in a difficult role, Sion Tudor Owen as the boorish Mr. Evans and Hannah Waterman as his put upon sister, Auntie Lou. Lorna Gayle, James Beddard and Brigit Forsyth are also on strong form as the slightly more exotic residents of Druid's Bottom. An excellent ensemble, including the talented Sarah Lark play the smaller parts and also offer some excellent choral singing.
Straightforward theatrical story-telling delivered with aplomb by a fine and committed cast.