When I headed into the theatre on Thursday afternoon I was slightly apprehensive. I think most people are when it comes to adaptations of a much-loved children’s classic like this, whether it’s in the theatre, film, TV or otherwise. This time however, I didn’t need to be. David Wood’s adaptation capture’s all the goodness of the story, and bring’s it to life in a sensitive and heart-warming re-telling.
The echoes of war-time song’s that frame the show transport us straight on a steam train down to 1939 Dorset. The first half, is essentially, a nice story about an evacuee. We get to know the character’s and we begin to feel like we are part of the village, to those who don’t know the story it probably feel’s like we are speeding straight towards a happy ending. Of course, those who do know it are dreading the second act. But that is where the play really find’s itself.
There are moment’s of utter brilliance. Scene’s that are so moving, captivating, and transporting that the audience is afraid to move. Triumphant performances from David Troughton as Mister Tom, and Oliver Loades as Zach make the series of tragedies even more unbearable, because we really are rooting for them from the start. There are some uplifting, comedy moment’s too. Sammy the dog was a favourite amongst the children in the audience around me, and Loades’ Zach brought some much needed fun to the children’s theatre show.
But although children are the target audience, it’s the adult’s who leave the theatre with tears in their eye’s, and a smile on their faces. This production of Michelle Magorian’s award winning novel has the ability to bring the audience together, regardless of age or generation. It is almost an extension of the spirit of wartime Britain that the show encompasses. If you are a fan of the book, or the film, or if you’ve never even heard of William Beech and his story, get yourself down to this show. With 2016 tour dates all over the UK there really is no excuse not to.
Goodnight Mister Tom is currently playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London, with 2016 Tour dates here. Suitable for children 8yrs+. Photo’s credit to Dan Tsantilis.
Thank you to theatrebloggers.co.uk and #ldntheatrebloggers for the invitation.