IT IS always with fingers firmly crossed that we go to watch a stage version of a story we have loved as a film, and vice-versa.

Well, you can uncross them. Dan Gordon's adaptation of Rain Man is true to the spirit of the film, and is blessed with some captivating performances.

The limitations of the stage, as opposed to film locations, are overcome with an economic set which stimulates the imagination rather than creating boundaries.

And in any case the scenery is not particularly pertinent to the story.

In a change of cast because of illness, Adam Lilley stepped into the demanding role of Raymond Babbitt, the autistic man at the heart of the story. He rose to the challenge magnificently and with Chris Fountain as his initially grasping, insensitive brother, Charlie, created some glorious comedy.

It’s not a comedy per se but a serious salutary lesson in human relationships and family connections. But the human condition inevitably has its ridiculous moments.

Raymond’s inability to connect and his literal take on the world leads the rest of us to a completely different perspective as we struggle, with Charlie, to understand Raymond’s mind.

Fountain handles the reluctant transition from egocentric hustler to loving brother with subtlty. Elizabeth Carter as his girlfriend Susan seems to teach Charlie the compassion he lacks at the start.

The American accents were fine, but at first seemed to encourage gabbling which smothered clear diction. It improved as the actors relaxed into the performance.

You only have until Saturday to catch this excellent evening’s entertainment.

Jo Bayne