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Goodnight Mr Tom

Date

17th November 2017

Society

Leeds Childrens Theatre

Venue

Carriageworks Theatre

Type of Production

Play

Director

Ian Goodison

Musical Director

n/a

Choreographer

n/a

Report

Author: Christine Castle

This play is the perfect vehicle for LCT, as it neatly intertwines adults and children in a classic piece of theatre.

The original novel, by Michelle Magorian and then adapted as a film, has now been cleverly brought to the stage by the expert in this field, David Wood. This was no easy task - films are notoriously difficult to convert to stage because of the complexity of many short scenes driving the story forward, without the visual context. However, this play is a sure-fire winner all round. LCT has drawn on the expert direction of Ian Goodison to bring together an emotional and endearing production which suits all ages. I was particularly impressed with the settings and the way each scene effortlessly segued into the next, accompanied by authentic songs, capturing so well the wartime feel that runs through the play. Ian had obviously worked his actors hard to achieve the many emotive characters they conveyed to the audience. The irascible elderly widower, forced to take in an evacuee from London and jolted out of his settled ways, was played very well by Bernard Wilson - and I enjoyed the Yorkshire 'take' he gave the part. The mentally and physically tortured evacuee, William, was excellently played by Devon McCormack, along with Harley McCormack as the spirited Zack. The other evacuees, who at first make William's life hell, were played with great 40's feel by Megan McNutt (Ginnie), Grace Wright (Carrie) and Harrison Mason (George) - I went to school with children just like this!!

The adult members of the cast equally performed extremely well - in spite of the fact that they had to convey many emotions in very short scenes - but even if you did not know the story beforehand, they brought every nuance of the story to life There were some lovely touches  - the kindly Doctor Little (James Hart), the caring librarian (Jane Curtin), the bereaved young teacher (Jeni Spragg) the villagers, who took these children into their homes willingly (Ciaran Duggan,Tony Hutchinson, Maddy Miller, Manda Lister, Jamie Nash, Diane McHale-Fannon). The Londoners included the mentally unhinged Mrs Beech, played very well by Janine Walker and cockney Glad (Julie Hall) - with other parts played by Luke Schorah, Ben Patrick, Dan Dainter, Alan Buttery, Grace Scanlon and Emma McGrath. The ensemble, made up of Young Evacuees and Londoners, all worked well together as a team and enhanced the whole production.

I cannot leave out the expert puppeteer, Molly Goodison, who brought Tom's dog, Sammy, to life in such a clever way - a mesmerising performance! She was also joined by young puppeteers, Caitlin Duggan as a believable Sparrow and Lily Rugg as a naughty Squirrel!

I must also give the highest praise to the creatives - for stage management, lighting, sound, props, costume, hair and make-up, the production team and chaperones! All unsung and unseen heroes!

This was indeed a team effort and I know enjoyed by an appreciative audience - there wasn't a dry eye in the house at the end - that's when you know it's all worked very well!!

My congratulations to you all!!