‘This beautiful play is a roller-coaster of emotion.’
Written by David Wood from the novel by Michelle Magorian, Goodnight Mister Tom tells the story of young London boy William Beech, evacuated to Dorset during WW2 to escape from the bombing.
William (Alex Taylor-McDowall) is lodged with Mr Tom Oakley (David Troughton) and his dog Sammy. Mr Tom is portrayed as a slightly gruff widower, who soon realises that William has been physically and mentally abused.
As the relationship develops he helps him to read and write and encourages him to make friends with fellow evacuee, Zach: a fun-loving and humorous boy.
William’s mother asks for him to return home to London, only for him to be abused again and discover he has a baby sister. Tom writes to William but gets no reply and, suitably worried, travels to London to find him tied up under the stairs with his dead sister in his arms.
William is sent to hospital to recover. Faced with the threat of an orphanage for William, Tom rescues him and takes him back to Dorset. The authorities eventually agree that Tom can adopt William, to everyone’s delight. William also endures being told of the subsequent death of his mother and his best friend Zach, when Zach goes back to London to see his sick father.
This is a sad tale of a young boy suffering abuse from a deranged mother, and finding a loving family and developing wonderful friendships. You are also able to understand Mr Tom’s life and the death of his own wife and baby son. On several occasions you can sense the raw emotion, accompanied by complete silence from the audience.
Bryan Parker and Laurence Doyle
Watch this play at the following theatres:
Woking New Victoria Theatre 19 – 23 Apr 2016
Theatre Royal Bath 26 – 30 Apr 2016
With thanks to Alison Trimming at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre