GOODNIGHT MR TOM

Date 11th September 2015
Society Colwyn Abbey Players
Venue THEATR COLWYN
Director Sam Highcock
Musical Director Peter Williams

Report

Author: LYN EMMERSON

The piece had a good start, giving the audience the atmosphere of excitement, sadness, the thought of the unknown, and all the emotion of the children being separated from their parents for the first time. These were the ‘evacuees’ being sent to the Devonshire village of Weirwold, far away from London and the bombing of World War 2.

Tom Oakley, a recluse in his 60’s since the untimely death from scarlatina of his young wife and baby, was selected to look after a young boy, William Beech. David Huxley, as widower, Tom Oakley gave a sterling performance, indeed he held the whole company together with this first class performance. Reluctant in his appointed task, David had a good rapport with young Aaron Spencer, who was perfectly cast as the shy, nervous, evacuee, William Beech who had been constantly abused by his wretched mother.

There were many poignant moments in the play between Tom and William, these two main characters, one could see and feel the admiration and regard on both sides grow, and they must both be congratulated on their performances. Simone Baldwin gave a chilling portrayal of the malevolent, Mrs Martha Beech, William’s mother, who had insisted William went to a Christian home or a house near the Church. Sadly, Martha Beech did not practice what she preached but Simone extracted every ounce of Martha’s evil character in her portrayal of this envious role.

There was a good contribution from Piers Fortin as Zacharius Wrench, who becomes William’s best friend, until he is tragically killed. Lovely diction, could hear every word, well done. This play (musical) had a large cast, too numerous to mention individually but I feel a little more rehearsal may have been an advantage, and this showed more with the chorus than the Principal Characters. I have seen the play a few times but in my opinion the piece did not lend itself to a musical, and I felt the score rather discordant at times, this being no fault of the Company. The set was cleverly constructed and costumes were very much of the period. Nevertheless, a challenge to the Company, which brought us a real picture of life and relationships under war time conditions