A MASTERFUL adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's 'An Elephant in the Garden' is set to perform next week at South Hill Park in Bracknell.

Audiences will step back in time to 1945 Dresden, Germany, where Elizabeth's mother who works at a zoo befriends a young elephant called Marlene.

She faces a dilemma when the zoo director tells her the dangerous animals in the zoo, including elephants, must be shot before the town is bombed.

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The play takes a dramatic turn as bombs start to drop, their home is destroyed and they flee the city, through the perilous landscape, avoiding the Russian troops drawing ever closer from the East, and the advancing Allied forces from the West.

As refugees in war-torn Europe, their escape is made even harder when an elephant is by their side.

Multi-award winning author Michael Morpurgo has seen success with over 100 books, including War Horse, Private Peaceful and Kensuke's Kingdom.

The production is the new adaptation by Simon Reade from the bestselling children's novel, following their previous collaborations on Michael Morpurgo's war stories.

Each of the 28 roles in the production, including that of Marlene the elephant, are performed by a single actress, Alison Reid.

She said: "I love playing such a huge variety of characters in one play. The listening that you feel from the audience is so focussed and concentrated. 

"People are still fleeing their homes around the war torn world today - hopefully audiences can empathise with these people more after seeing what happens to Lizzie and her mother."

Alison has worked extensively as an actress at the Royal Shakespeare Company, at the Bristol Old Vic and the National Theatre.

She also appeared in BAFTA winning Three Girls and played a journalist in BBC mini series Five Daughters, which recounted the final weeks in the lives of the five young women who were murdered in Ipswich in 2006.

The actress also performed all of the leading roles at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The performance takes place from May 20 to 21 at the Wilde Theatre in South Hill Park.

Tickets range from £10 to £16 and are available online at southhillpark.co.uk or call the box office on 01344484123.