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4* Review: Goodnight Mister Tom – Manchester Opera House

Olivier award-winning Chichester Festival Theatre production Goodnight Mister Tom opened at Manchester’s Opera House for what was a beautifully told story from beginning to end.

Michelle Magorian’s 1981 novel is adapted perfectly for the stage by David Wood.

Set just before and during the Second World War William Beech, a reserved, badly-treated young boy is evacuated to Dorset from his London home he shares with his religious zealot mother.

Tom Oakley is at first rather reluctant to take in a evacuee.

A older gentleman living alone he is set in his ways, but needs must and he is given William to care for.

What follows is a beautifully poignant relationship that blossoms over a period of time.

The child actors are all very impressive bringing much talent to their roles.

The young boy playing loud, flamboyant over-confident Zach brought lots of humour to the play while Will’s character showed a depth of emotion beyond his years.

David Troughton (Mister Tom) steps brilliantly into John Thaw’s shoes.

By the interval I had fallen in love with this grumpy old man who is starting to show affection for Will as he is learning to live and love again.

A mention has to go to the dog Sammy and his puppeteer – they made a great combination!

The set is effective as the drama moves swiftly between Dorset and London.

This drama tugs at the heart strings and is a wonderful thought-provoking piece of theatre.

The final scenes will have you reaching for a tissue (that’s if you haven’t already succumbed!) .

Goodnight Mister Tom is a uplifting evenings entertainment with some history to be learned along the way.

Showing until 27th February.

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