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Lifeboat at the Unicorn Theatre

"It's a true story" said the usherette said when I arrived. It is and the extraordinary Lifeboat story is told in a fast-moving 65 minutes show.

The set is a ship complete with important lifejackets but it is clever enough to also be the Kentish Town and Liverpool homes of two girls. Both are destined to be evacuated although their secret destination is never reached.

The director Gill Robertson came across the story in an old magazine found in a holiday cottage. Playwright Nicola McCartney has turned it into a drama now performed by Catherine Wheels Theatre Company set up by Gill Robertson.

Isabelle Joss as Beth and Suzanne Robertson as Bess slip in and out of various characters including mother, father, sisters, brothers and even the Indian ship's steward. There are snatches of wartime radio broadcasts and songs which grandparents will love.

The dresses evoke the very early spartan Forties and the Imperial War Museum has loaned the odd gas mask.

This production of Lifeboat won the Barclays Stage Award for Best Show for Children and Young People.

The Unicorn's Clore Theatre is intimate so don't be late or you will gave to walk on the ship's deck.

Suitable for ages 8+.

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