Goodnight Mister Tom by Aquila Youth Theatre at theSpaceTriplex is quite simply an enjoyable and entertaining piece of theatre from this young company.
At its heart, Goodnight Mister Tom is a love story. It’s not, however, about romantic love but about the deep, loving friendship which develops between two individuals.
When young schoolboy William Beech is evacuated from London to the West Country village of Little Wierwold in 1939 in anticipation of the outbreak of war, Tom Oakley surprises everyone, including himself, by offering to have William stay with him. It soon turns out that both are damaged souls. William has suffered physical and mental abuse from his mother, is unable to read or write, and in one poignant moment admits that he “ain’t got no friends”. Tom has been pretty much a recluse since the death of his wife and newborn son over 30 years ago, with his only companion being his dog, Sammy.
Accompanied by period music and songs, Goodnight Mister Tom explores friendship and family relationships. It’s a heartwarming story, ultimately uplifting, but with its share of sadness and loss too.
I generally don’t single out individual actors in amateur and youth productions, but in this case I must mention Freddie Coughlin, who brought William Beech to life with such feeling, and Matthew Edwards (who I suspect isn’t quite so young as the others!) who played Mister Tom with such likeability and warmth.
Goodnight Mister Tom is only here for six performances, so if you have some spare time at 2.20pm any day until Saturday 10th August, I’d highly recommend this one.
Goodnight Mister Tom
1 hour 40 minutes
Country: United Kingdom - England
Group: Aquila Youth Theatre
Review by Lisa Sibbald