IT is no mean feat adapting a much-loved novel into a theatre production, let alone a musical.

However, the Octagon Theatre and Watford Palace Theatre’s co-production of I Capture the Castle has got the potential of capturing hearts.

It brings to life Dodie Smith’s 1930’s-set bohemian novel told through the eyes of 17-year-old Cassandra.

It is a story of her coming to age as she deals with an eccentric family and tangled love stories.

Set in a tumbled down castle, her family are behind on the rent while dad deals with writers block, her step-mum cavorts naked in the rain and her sister dreams of a better life with peach-coloured towels.

Things soon change though with the arrival of a new landlord, a wealthy young American with an attractive younger brother.

Opening with the famous line of ‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink…’, the show has a wistful and romantic approach to the story.

There is something of a dream like quality to the adaption, from the gothic like set built from a ramshackle collection of chairs and ladders soaring up from the stage – and evocative lighting to its swooping score and whimsical choreography.

The music and moves borrow from the period, with folk, jazz and touches of Charleston.

Sadly the slowly unfolding relationships of the novel feel somewhat rushed and hollow on stage while you also lose out on many of the novel’s nuances.

However, Lowri Izzard brings Cassandra to life, developing before the audiences eyes from the gawky teen into a strong woman, and has the ability to light up the stage when she sings.

Ben Watson does well as the distant father James but is lost on stage next to strong performances from Suzanne Ahmet as the eccentric step-mum Topaz and Kate Batter as sister Rose, determined to get her man yet still so naïve about love.

Also on the scene stealers list are Julia St John as Mrs Cotton, the glamorous mother to Americans Simon (Theo) Boyce) and Neil (Luke Dale), and Shona White as cougar photographer Leda – who quickly gets her claws into sweet but bumbling gardener Stephen (Isaac Stanmore).

Their duet – a warning to all newly love-struck women – was a highlight of the evening.

I Capture the Castle is on at the Octagon theatre, Bolton, until May 6.