Monday, 21 December 2015

Review: Goodnight Mister Tom at the Duke of York's Theatre

Goodnight Mister Tom 
Duke of York's Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 17th December 2015

Having won an Olivier Award for 'Best Entertainment and Family' in 2013, Angus Jackson's beautifully crafted production of Goodnight Mister Tom has returned to the West End for a limited season before heading off on tour.

Adapted by David Wood from Michelle Magorian's beloved novel, Goodnight Mister Tom follows a young child named William Beech who is evacuated to the English countryside ahead of the second World War. William stays with an elderly recluse, Tom Oakley, and the pair soon strike up a unique relationship as details of William's troubled home life emerge. 

The simplicity of Jackson's production heightens the power of the story. I saw the show a couple of years ago on tour; but interestingly enjoyed it much more this time round. Alex Taylor-McDowall's endearing performance allowed the audience to take William under their wing - his story is both heartbreaking and uplifting. Everyone around me were wiping away tears; it seemed there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

David Troughton has made the title role his own; his performance couldn't be more different from Oliver Ford Davies who originated the role on stage. Troughton brings a lot of heart to his portrayal of Tom Oakley which makes the piece very moving. He shared strong chemistry with Taylor-McDowall. A big mention must also go to the scene stealing Oliver Loades who gave a big stand out performance as William's best friend Zach.

Goodnight Mister Tom is much more than a 'family show', it has such wide appeal. It's a big story which makes a nice change to many family shows which can be overly 'nice' or 'safe'. With focused direction, a talented cast and brilliant story, Goodnight Mister Tom is a superb piece of theatre.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Goodnight Mister Tom runs at the Duke of York’s Theatre until 20th February 2016. Click here for tickets. The UK tour opens at the Manchester Opera House on 23rd February 2016 before visiting Milton Keynes, Glasgow, Birmingham, Oxford, York, Richmond, Aylesbury, Woking, Bath, Cambridge, Cardiff and Newcastle.

Photo Credit: Dan Tsantilis

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