REVIEW: Moving story of Goodnight Mister Tom lights up The Blakehay Theatre

10:58 16 February 2017

Goodnight Mister Tom opened at The Blakehay Theatre last night (Wednesday).

Goodnight Mister Tom opened at The Blakehay Theatre last night (Wednesday).

Archant

A Weston audience enjoyed a night to remember as Goodnight Mister Tom opened at The Blakehay Theatre last night (Wednesday), in what was a moving re-creation of the literary classic.

Talented group Sunshine Productions returned to the stage, with Robbie Burns stealing the show as the loveable Tom Oakley.

The iconic story – based on the book by Michelle Magorian – is set in the build up to World War Two and follows evacuee William Beech on his journey to escape the war in Somerset.

He is sent to live with Mr Oakley and the two form an unlikely bond which was truly touching to watch unfold.

Sam Sprouting took on the role of William and his performance was flawless.

For such young talent, he had a challenging part to play. His body language made me feel uncomfortable as he was so shy and I felt as if I just wanted to help him.

Having suffered a host of abuse at the hands of his ill mother, his portrayal of the struggles and fear it had resulted in was truly hard to watch.

But as the show went on, his relationship with Mister Tom began to flourish and there was something really special about their bond.

Mister Tom’s kind nature but dry sense of humour made him relatable and as William began to come out of his shell, I had a smile on my face.

It was an emotional evening but also rather an uplifting one and one stand-out member of the cast made sure Weston also enjoyed a laugh.

Tom Blyth played eccentric and fun-loving Zach, who befriends William and his energy was a joy to watch.

As a budding thespian his outlandish way of presenting himself could not have been more different to his best friend William but this second unlikely friendship was both believable and emotive.

Another unique addition to this production was the use of a puppet as Mister Tom’s dog Sammy.

Abi Le Guilcher deserves immense credit for her skills as a puppeteer as I felt an affiliation with the dog and was not distracted by her presence on stage.

It was something which set the production apart from others and showed the wealth of talent on display.

Not only did the experienced Burns take on the title role with ease, he also produced and helped with the effective set design – which included a small screen with images of London and Somerset.

Without wanting to give too much away, this show is not for the faint-hearted and it may leave you with a tear in your eye but it is worth it to see this production showcasing a host of local talent.

Goodnight Mister Tom will be at The Blakehay Theatre, in Wadham Street, tonight (Thursday) until Saturday, with performances at 7.30pm each night.

Tickets, priced £14.50, are available by calling 01934 645493 or via www.blakehaytheatre.co.uk

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