HER BENNY Music, book and lyrics by Anne Dalton;adapted from the story by Silas K. Hocking First presented as Our Benny at Liverpool Empire Theatre Revised and renamed - Liverpool Empire Theatre, 12th November, 2008 SYNOPSIS Renamed and revamped, but true to Silas Hocking's Her Benny, the classic tale of two youngsters' battle to survive in Victorian Liverpool, Our Benny is a rags to riches, feel good musical, following the fortunes of Benny and his little sister Nell, as they rely on courage and love to fight poverty and injustice. With rousing song and dance numbers, this inspiring, instantly appealing musical promises to create a whole new army of fans. Laugh, sing, cry and be captivated by one of Liverpool's best-known theatrical productions. Story Liverpool night-watchman, Joe Wragg and his wife Sally, reminisce about Nell and Benny Bates, two street children forced to earn a few coppers for their drunken parents by selling matches and carrying bags. The diversity and richness of Victorian life unfolds; urchin children who live by their wits, street traders and the inhabitants of Addler's Alley who are no better off than they ought to be. Life is a curious mixture of hardship humour, violence, generosity, drunkenness and neglect. One night, after a severe beating, Nell and her Benny decide to run away from home and seek help from their friend, Joe Wragg. When he learns that their remorseful father has drowned in the Mersey whilst searching the waterfront for his children, Joe decides to take them to his house. The children bring Sally and Joe closer together and for a while they live like a happy family. The go on the ferry to Eastham and the children enjoy their first real Christmas. Despite all the Wragg's love and care however, Nell's poor health dete-riorates. One day Benny is devastated to learn that Nell has collapsed and has been taken to the infirmary. Her death, when it comes is a cruel blow to them all and intensi-fies Joe's despair at the inevitable fate of the poor and helpless. One stormy night on duty at his watchman's hut, Joe is visited by a heavenly vision in ,which Nell and others who have gone before explain to him that the poor and meek are blessed. Joe's faith and hope are restored, and this is reflected in his attitude to his neighbours who are drawn to the watch-man's fire for comfort advice and compan-ionship. Benny, meanwhile has found it difficult to adjust to life without Nell, but a chance meeting with Eva, the young daughter of a wealthy Liverpool businessman changes his life. Eva takes pity on Benny and gives him a silver shilling which he regards as a lucky talisman and resolves never to spend. Later, at Eva's insistence, Mr. Lawrence employs Benny as an office boy. The children's friendship develops and all goes well until Benny is accused of stealing a banknote. Mr. Lawrence decides not to press charges. On his release, Benny, unable to clear his name effectively, is too ashamed to return to his home and his friends and decides to leave Liverpool. He wanders many miles and is found exhausted and near to death by a farming couple. The Fishers restore Benny to health and employ him on their farm.