MICHAEL Morpurgo’s favourite novel, Private Peaceful, is dramatically brought to life in a stunning adaptation for the stage at Bath’s Theatre Royal this week.

The play is yet another stunning story of the First World War from a master storyteller whose novels appeal to anyone aged nine to 90.

Told in the voice of a young soldier, Thomas ‘Tommo’ Peaceful, the story follows 24 hours in his life at the front during WW1 and captures his memories as he looks back over his life.

Private Peaceful is both a love story and a deeply-moving account of growing up in a rural Devon community before 1914 and the horrors of the First World War battlefields that killed hundreds of thousands of British troops.

Daniel Boyd as Tommo’s elder brother Charlie Peaceful and Daniel Rainford as Thomas Peaceful are the stars as they draw the audience into the story.

The two brothers fall for the same girl (Molly) while contending with the pressures of their feudal family life, the war, and the price of courage and cowardice.

Thanks to their sterling performances, it’s easy to believe we’re in the muddy hell of the trenches on the Flanders frontline.

The supporting cast plays multiple roles with professional aplomb and I was particularly impressed with the performances of Liyah Summers, John Dougall and Emma Manton.

The other ‘stars of the show’, are the lighting and the imaginative and versatile set, which is designed to double both for the Devon countryside and the blasted hell of the Flanders frontline.

Writer Simon Reade has done a magnificent job with adapting Morpurgo’s novel for the stage, even though the action is tremendously fast-paced under Elle While’s direction.

The first act follows the Peaceful brothers childhood as they are growing up in Devon as part of a loving family.

They survive the hardships that rural poverty throws at them and the hierarchical class system that divided the landed gentry from the middle class and lower working class.

There is a lot of running around on stage, folksy songs, and character development as we are drawn towards the war and the terrible loss of loss on the WW1 frontlines.

In the second act, Private Peaceful becomes a tale of heroism and cowardice, with soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders brought about by the horrors they have witnessed.

It ends with Charlie being marched before the firing squad after being court-martialled for cowardice and Tommo preparing for the Battle of the Somme.

If you like Michael Morpurgo’s novels, you’ll love this stage adaptation. It’s on at the Theatre Royal until Saturday (April 16).