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Butterfly Lion fluttering on to Richmond Theatre stage
Following the roaring success of the much-acclaimed War Horse, the Butterfly Lion is Michael Morpurgo’s latest creation to be adapted for the stage.
Daniel Buckroyd’s interpretation of the children’s novel will star former Barbara and Coronation Street actress Gwen Taylor when it opens at Richmond Theatre next week.
And when talking to the veteran of the stage, there can be no doubt that this is a play that the 74-year-old has a particular passion for.
She said: “We have had a lot of schools come to see it and it is fantastic but it is best when people come to watch it as a family.
“That is the great thing about Michael Morpurgo’s stories, they really do appeal to everybody, whatever age you might be.
“He has come to see a performance of this adaptation and although he has had no input, he was very complimentary.
“In fact h did a question and answer session with the audience and he is a very witty man.”
The Butterfly Lion began at the Mercury Theatre in Colchester earlier this year and after initial success has embarked on a nationwide tour.
It tells the story of a young boy who runs away from school in Wiltshire when he meets Taylor’s character, Millie the old lady.
Transporting the audience from the African velds to the battlefields of France during WWI, she tells him the story of Bertie and the butterfly lion.
Taylor said: “It is not simply a child's play because it has a number of different layers to it.
“I am not going to spoil it for anybody but it does not all turn out happy - but it does end on hope and that is important.”
The former Heartbeat actress drew parallels with Morpurgo’s smash-hit War Horse.
And the famous children’s author has publically stated the Butterfly Lion as being one of his favourite pieces of work.
Speaking about performing at Richmond, Taylor added that it is a theatre which holds a special place in her heart.
She said: “It really is a lovely old theatre and I have actually worked there quite a bit.
“It is one of the few places where I can be at home in London as well.”
The Butterfly Lion; Richmond Theatre; the Green, Richmond; November 4-9; tickets £11.90 - £26.90; visit atgtickets.com/Richmond.
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