GOODNIGHT Mr Tom, adapted from the novel by Michelle Magorian and directed by Emma Bunnock, opened at the Dolman Theatre last night to an appreciative audience.  

Set in the Second World War, it tells the story of a young boy evacuated to a small village and placed into the care of the elderly and reclusive Mr Tom Oakley, where a touching and exceptional bond is formed.  

Mr Tom, played beautifully by Richard Dymond, along with dog Sammy, played by Emma Bunnock and providing many a laugh, fellow evacuee, Zach (Charlie Turner) and the rest of the villagers, help young William (played by Niamh Jones) recover from his abusive life back home in London to regain his childhood.

The war time atmosphere is captured by the clever set design and use of light, smoke and sound, including the prime minister’s radio announcements and the bombings in London, as well as the authentic costumes. 

The contrast between countryside and city is displayed not only through the visual and audio representation, but through the build-up of tension. 

The first half depicts the slow and sentimental village life in the countryside, followed by a rising unease created by the behaviour of Will’s religious and mentally ill mother (Adele Cordner) on his return to London. 

A nostalgic, sentimental and tear-jerking story that remains true to the classic.

Julie Benson