23-27 February 2016
Reviewed by Rebecca Banasko
The Opera House Theatre is easy enough to find, however the parking was much more difficult to find. The website provides postcodes for 2 multi-story car parks which are not accurate and so we ended up driving around for some time to find them. They are quite a walk also, so be prepared to attend with plenty of time.
Being totally unaware of the story of Goodnight Mister Tom I was really looking forward to watching it with fresh eyes. I brought my mother along with me, who is more familiar with the story to get her point of view. The setting was pre-second world war England and the story revolves around a somewhat damaged little boy called William. William is evacuated from London to Dorset to live with ‘Mr Tom’, who initially appears to be a rather inhospitable character, along with his warm and loving dog Sammy. As the story unfolds, you see both character begin to grow and barriers disappear between them a they help each other to overcome their demons and form a heart-warmingly close bond that helps each renew their view of the world.
The story took me on a rather unexpected emotional journey; not only with the far reaching effects of war but also the challenges and heartbreak that both characters had to battle and overcome. It spoke of the power of love and friendship and its positive effect on even the most broken of people. By the end there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
The set was simple but so effective and in keeping with the era. Although not a musical the story was punctuated with a number of war time songs and music which added to the depth of the story. The characters were expertly played by an incredibly talented and versatile cast. A special mention goes to Sammy’s puppeteer who created a very believable and likeable character, which must have been such a physically demanding role with little let up as he appeared in so many scenes. Mr Tom and William were the main characters but all the characters stay in your mind well after being there as they were all so wonderfully real.
I would definitely recommend this show for young and old alike. The story will have you gripped throughout as you comfortably enter their world and then come to realise the true hardships that people of that time had to overcome. I also recommend bringing along some tissues.
Tickets cost from £14.40 to £31.40 (plus £4 transaction fee).
Goodnight Mister Tom is at the Opera House in Manchester until 27 February 2016. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 3018.
Opera House, 3 Quay Street, Manchester, M3 3HP | 0844 871 3018