John Boyne’s book is a fable, successfully filmed and now adapted for the stage.

It tells of two boys who meet under bizarre circumstances and develop an extraordinary friendship.

The events are seen through the eyes of Bruno, son of a German Commandant recently appointed to run an extermination camp. Bruno is a questioning, rebellious nine-year-old, totally ignorant of the camp’s function, who befriends Shmuel, a Jewish boy, living in the camp.

Like the book their tale is told in short scenes. These take place on a large revolve in front of a stark wooden backdrop that later takes on a horrendous function.

The staging is inventive, the direction crisp and well cast. There are strong performances from Phil Cheadle and Marianne Oldham as Bruno’s parents with Robert Styles bringing dignity to Pavel, the Jewish servant.

But the evening belongs to the young actors. Cameron Duncan captures the spirit of Bruno, even managing to raise laughter through his naive ignorance of the true situation the other side of the fence. Colby Mulgrew shows great stage presence with his quiet, understated playing of Shmuel.

The play closes with – “All this happened a long time ago and could never happen again”.