Although usually incredible, stage productions can sometimes be a bit hit and miss. A few weeks ago Dan and I had tickets to see a West End play but feeling very tired and not enjoying ourselves we ended up leaving before the end. However, this was absolutely not the case when we went to the stunning Duke of York’s Theatre in St Martin’s Lane to see David Wood’s adaptation of Michelle Magorian’s book, ‘Goodnight Mister Tom’.
When I see any kind of play or performance, I make a deal of it. A nice outfit, a pre theatre meal, some wine and a little look around the venue before hand. After Daniel and I headed to Prezzo for a glass of red and a some pasta, we strolled to the theatre. Built in the late 1800’s, Duke of York’s Theatre boasts historic features which have been sensitively restored over the years. It’s authentic with friendly staff, all those little hints that makes you realise that the play is going to be great. I hadn’t seen the BAFTA award-winning TV film starring John Thaw so I was really looking forward to it.
The fictitious story is set in the run up to the Second World War. It’s the story of William Beech, an evacuee from London who goes to stay with a Mr. Tom Oakley (played by David Troughton) in Dorset. The story is touching as it’s something close to my heart; my Grandad was a child evacuee from Birmingham.
Tom Oakley is an elderly recluse who at first isn’t keen to take the little boy in but eventually comes to love him as his own. Without warning, William’s mum asks that William returns to London. Without giving too much away, let’s just say that here it takes a dark turn.
What I loved most about this play was the simple stage setting with the focus on the acting. Word perfect, the actors (both adults and children) captured the audience’s attention and almost had me in tears in some parts. I was warmed by William’s new relationships with the other children particularly the little Jewish boy, Zacharias. You couldn’t hear a pin drop during the performance aside from me munching away on my Pringles and sipping my red wine.
A night out at the theatre has again become one of my favourite things to do in London. Plays like this can really keep you in the moment without the distractions of phones and conversation. You know that great feeling you get when something has truly moved you, pulled at your heart strings and will stay with you? You’ll get that with Goodnight Mister Tom.
The show plays at the Duke of York’s Theatre until 20 Feb and then tours the UK until May 2016. To buy tickets, simply click here.