MICHAEL Morpurgo's stories for children, which include War Horse and Private Peaceful, have proved fertile ground for stage adaptations.
The latest to take to the stage is Toro! Toro!, set amid the bullfighting traditions of Andalucia and against the background of the Spanish Civil War.
Young Antonito lives an idyllic life on his parents' cattle farm in southern Spain. But the peace is shattered when he realises that his favourite bull-calf, brave Paco, is destined to fight in the bullring. Taking both their destinies into his own hands, and risking the lives and love of his family, Antonito hatches a daring plan.
The production runs from October 8 to 12 at Exeter's Northcott Theatre.
Originally produced by Salisbury Playhouse and nominated for the TMA Award for Best Show for Young People, the play captures the passion and drama of rapidly growing up in the heat of war.
The book has been adapted for stage by writer Simon Reade, who was also responsible for stage versions of Private Peaceful and The Mozart Question.
The book is aimed at primary school children, but Morpurgo's ability to expose a young audience to seismic historical events and big issues such as war, cruelty and death without sugar-coating the pill is down to the simplicity and honesty with which he handles his subjects. No overt brutality, but no ducking the harder realities either.
Both Reade and director/designer Philip Wilson stay true to the author's intentions with the accent on powerful story-telling.
Ticket details: 01392 493493 or visit www.exeternorthcott.co.uk/toro-toro