Review: Goodnight Mister Tom

Emma Lee gives her verdict on a new production of Goodnight Mister Tom at Norwich Theatre Royal

Goodnight Mister Tom is described as a children's story for grown-ups and a grown-up story for children.

The much-loved novel, by Michelle Magorian, is 30 years old this year –and this new touring production, which opened at Norwich Theatre Royal last night, will win the story many more fans, young and old.

Adapted by National Children's Dramatist David Wood and directed by Angus Jackson, it follows the story of William Beech and his friendship with Tom Oakley and his faithful dog, Sammy.

Both the young boy and the old man have their own war wounds, but as time goes on they connect and a friendship blossoms.

It's really powerful stuff, and the cast is just fantastic. Acclaimed stage and screen actor Oliver Ford Davies is pitch perfect as Mister Tom, and the younger cast are just outstanding – Oliver Tritton Wheeler's performance as William was incredibly moving (I can just about see to type this through my tears) –and Max Longmuir's exuberant portrayal of fellow evacuee Zach was a joy. They're stars in the making.

Special mention must be made for puppeteer Laura Cubitt who brings Sammy the Dog to life so convincingly that you almost forget he's not real.

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Goodnight Mister Tom is the first production staged by the Children's Touring Partnership, which aims to create inspiring theatre to engage young people with the theatre.

This production will inspire and engage all ages.

Don't miss it.

Goodnight Mister Tom is at Norwich Theatre Royal until Saturday, March 12. Box office: 01603 630000.

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