Wil­liam and cast of ec­centrics

The Scarborough News - - GO -

It takes some time adapt­ing to the world that di­rec­tor Jake Smith has cre­ated for this adap­ta­tion of Michelle Mago­rian’s pop­u­lar chil­dren’s tale of wartime evac­uees, writes Mike Tilling.

For ex­am­ple, travel is sym­bol­ised by whirling ac­tors and fly­ing suit­cases, but, once en­gaged, the au­di­ence is drawn in to a world of small-vil­lage ec­centrics and the cen­tral themes of love, loss and redemp­tion.

Once again de­signer Ed Ull­yart has worked mir­a­cles with the tiny space that is the East Rid­ing Theatre stage.

With­out any sense that au­di­ence credulity is be­ing stretched, we are trans­ported from rail­way sta­tions, to a grave­yard, to a Lon­don slum, and many more lo­ca­tions.

Ull­yart’s work is a tes­ta­ment to what can be achieved

Good­night Mr Tom is on from now un­til Sun­day Jan­uary 6

Tick­ets: 01482 874050 East Rid­ing Theatre, Bev­er­ley, from now un­til Jan­uary 6

with lim­ited means.

At the core of the play is, of course, a very young ac­tor.

On the evening I saw the show, Wil­liam Beech was played by Joe Daw­son.

For one so young, he is as­sured and pro­fes­sional, pac­ing his per­for­mance and un­der­play­ing the role un­til the sec­ond act where the weight of the drama falls heav­ily on his shoul­ders.

The re­strained act­ing pays off at key mo­ments such as when he calls Mr Tom ‘Dad’ or sud­denly blurts out ‘I love you Mr Tom’. The au­di­ence melted.

Mr Tom him­self is played by Roger Al­bor­ough.

This is an ac­tor who seems to be able to em­body a role.

He may progress from cur­mud­geonly wid­ower to lov­able grand­fa­ther rather quickly, but we be­lieve in his anx­i­ety when Wil­liam dis­ap­pears in Lon­don and share in his ela­tion at Wil­liam’s re­turn.

Other cast mem­bers are re­quired to play mul­ti­ple roles and, since Blue Re­mem­bered Hills, we have be­come ac­cus­tomed to adult ac­tors play­ing chil­dren.

The de­mands on all of them are con­sid­er­able since they also have to change the set fre­quently as well as play Mr Tom’s dog.

How­ever, of the en­sem­ble I must sin­gle out Sara Be­har­rell as Mrs Beech.

Her play­ing of Wil­liam’s de­mented mother is truly chilling and, for me, sig­nalled a quick­en­ing in the pace of the whole pro­duc­tion.

Se­lect­ing Good­night Mr Tom as a Christ­mas pro­duc­tion is an orig­i­nal choice.

It car­ries sim­i­lar mes­sages to those tra­di­tion­ally as­so­ci­ated with with this sea­son – good­will and kind­ness – but wrapped up in a sec­u­lar pack­age.

It’s also a good, fun evening in the theatre.

Good­night Mr Tom is on at East Rid­ing Theatre, Bev­er­ley, un­til Sun­day Jan­uary 6.

Per­for­mance times are De­cem­ber 27 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm; De­cem­ber 28 at 7.30pm; De­cem­ber 29 and 30 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm; De­cem­ber 31 at 2.30pm Jan­uary 2 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm; Jan­uary 3 and 4 at 7.30pm; Jan­uary 5 and 6 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm Tick­ets can be booked on 01482 874050 or www.eastrid­ingth­e­atre.co.uk Dur­ing the run of Good­night Mis­ter Tom, the theatre is of­fer­ing au­di­ences the chance to buy tick­ets to en­ter a prize draw which fea­tures some amaz­ing prizes do­nated by lo­cal busi­nesses. They in­clude a £60 restau­rant voucher for the West­wood, sil­ber cuff­links from Guest and Philips, af­ter­noon tea from TC Patis­serie and two cour­ses from Car­luc­cio’s.

All the pro­ceeds from the draw will go to­wards de­vel­op­ing East Rid­ing Theatre’s out­reach work in Schools and the lo­cal com­mu­nity. Tick­ets are a £1 and avail­able to buy from the theatre.

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