Following a critically and publically acclaimed West End run over Christmas, Goodnight Mister Tom visits Bath as part of a UK spring tour. David Wood’s Olivier Award-winning stage adaptation of Michelle Magorian’s world-wide literary favourite features a cast led by David Troughton appearing at the Theatre Royal from Tuesday 26th April to Saturday 30th April.
Set during the dangerous build up to the Second World War, Goodnight Mister Tom follows young William Beech, who is evacuated to the idyllic English countryside and forges a remarkable and heart-warming friendship with the elderly recluse, Tom Oakley. All is perfect until William is suddenly summoned by his mother back to London.
The children’s classic novel, Goodnight Mister Tom, celebrates its 35th anniversary year in 2016 and continues to inspire audiences and bring generations together. Winner of the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and commended for the Carnegie Medal, Michelle Magorian’s wonderfully uplifting tale is brought gloriously to life in this magical stage play by David Wood, which won the Olivier Award for Best Entertainment and Family in 2013. Originally staged by Chichester Festival Theatre in 2011 with a West End transfer in 2012, Goodnight Mister Tom returned to the West End in December 2015 with its current cast, running until February, immediately prior to this tour.
David Troughton plays the central role of Tom Oakley. The voice of Tony Archer in Radio 4’s long-running British contemporary rural drama, David has performed in The Archers since 2014. One of our most experienced classical actors, he is a veteran of many landmark Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre productions; his numerous leading roles range from Henry IV, Bottom and Caliban to Hook in Peter Pan. His many theatre credits also include Inherit the Wind opposite Kevin Spacey at London’s Old Vic Theatre, and his previous performances at the Theatre Royal Bath include The Cherry Orchard in 1997 and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1989, both for the RSC. Most recently, Bath audiences will remember his starring role in Alan Bennett’s Enjoy alongside Alison Steadman in 2008, followed by a hugely successful West End run, and a return visit to Bath in 2010. David also regularly appears on television, including performances in Grantchester, Unforgotten and The Hollow Crown. He played Hurry Fenwick in the series Casualty 1906, Casualty 1907 and Casualty 1909; Dr. Bob Buzzard in the series A Very Peculiar Practice; and appeared in Doctor Who, Drop the Dead Donkey, Trevor’s World of Sport, Outnumbered, The Cafe, and New Tricks.
David Troughton is joined by an ensemble cast featuring, Elisa de Grey, who returns as puppeteer for the character of Sammy the dog, having played the role in the West End and on tour; Guy Lewis, who last performed at the Theatre Royal Bath in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead in 2002; Simon Markey, who has performed at the National Theatre many times, and last played the Theatre Royal Bath in The Madness of George III in 2011; Abigail Matthews, who performed in War Horse at the National Theatre and in the West End, and hails from Yeovil; Clark Devlin, who recently performed in Seussical The Musical in the West End; and Jane Milligan, who appeared in the World Premiere of Mrs Henderson Presents at the Theatre Royal Bath last summer and performed in Mamma Mia! in the West End.
The cast also features Georgina Sutton, who returns to play the role of Miss Thorne, having performed previously in the National Tour, West End and Chichester Festival Theatre runs; Hollie Taylor, who performed in Matilda the Musical at the RSC and in the West End; Martha Seignior, who trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School; James Staddon and Melle Stewart.
Six talented young performers play the key roles of William and Zach on tour; at the Theatre Royal Bath, the role of William will be performed by Alex Taylor-McDowall and Zach will be played by Oliver Loades.
Author Michelle Magorian was inspired to write Goodnight Mister Tom after hearing her mother’s tales about her time as a nurse in the war. Published in 1981, it has been translated into 11 languages and won awards in the UK, America and Australia. In 1998 the story was adapted into a BAFTA Award-winning television film starring John Thaw. Her novel Just Henry won the Costa Award for children’s fiction in 2008, was adapted for television in 2011, and starred Sheila Hancock who appears briefly as her younger self in Michelle’s latest novel, Impossible! Michelle is currently working with the composer Stephen Keeling on the musical Sea Change.
Goodnight Mister Tom is adapted for the stage by David Wood OBE, the country’s leading writer and director of plays and musicals for children. In the West End over the 2015 Christmas season, Goodnight Mister Tom ran at the Duke of York’s Theatre, whilst David’s Olivier Award-nominated stage production of The Tiger Who Came to Tea ran at the Lyric Theatre, and his adaptation of The Witches enjoyed a run in Leicester.
The production is directed by Angus Jackson, whose work includes Oppenheimer for the RSC and in the West End; King Lear for Chichester and the Brooklyn Academy of Music; The Browning Version for Chichester and in the West End; and for the National Theatre, The Power of Yes and Elmina’s Kitchen, which also transferred to the West End. He recently directed Don Quixote for the RSC’s 400th anniversary season, starring David Threlfall and Rufus Hound.
Goodnight Mister Tom appears at the Theatre Royal Bath from Tuesday 26th to Saturday 30th April. Tickets are on sale at the Theatre Royal Box Office on 01225 448844 and online at www.theatreroyal.org.uk
Photos by: Dan Tsantillis