THE BOOK OF EVERYTHING is the English translation of a Dutch children’s novel by Guus Kuijer. It was adapted for the stage by the Australian playwright Richard Tulloch and first performed in 2010.

This production by Castle Hill Players is an engaging insight into the world of young Thomas as we look at the adults’ moral codes through the imagination of a nine year old boy.

Set in Amsterdam in 1951 Brayden Sim brings to the main character, Thomas Klopper, a charming innocence as he comes to understand a little better the relationships of the people around him.

Thomas lives with his father (Paul Sztelma), mother (Michelle Mansfiled) and sister Margot (Holky Bramble). His Aunty Pie (Annette Snars) lives down the road.

Thomas is writing a book the “Book of Everything” about all the fascinating things other people seem to ignore, such as invisible hail ripping leaves from trees or guppies in the canal. He also writes about his greatest wish which is to be happy.

It is a wish that is not that easy to achieve. His family is not a happy family. His father abuses his wife and also there are times when he punishes him.

Thomas has a kind heart, making friends with the witch next door, Mrs Van Amersfoort (Anne Geenen), and writes to Eliza (Suzanna Volokh) on whom he has a crush, seeing her beauty and not her disability.

Thomas is visited by the chatty Lord Jesus (Gavin Jamieson), who says he also has problems with his father and helps Thomas learn the difficult art of acceptance.

The strong cast, directed by Carol Wimmer, bring to this magical, yet somewhat dark tale, humour and hope.

This is a wonderful tale about being brave in the face of injustice and fear, enjoying friends no matter how odd they may appear and accepting that those who are abusive are human and vulnerable  too and in the end only dishonour themselves.

This play is  suitable for older children and also for adults. This latest production by Castle Hill Players is playing the Pavilion Theatre, Castle Hill Showground until April 22.