Goodnight Mister Tom (play)

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Goodnight Mister Tom
Written by David Wood
Place premiered Chichester Festival Theatre
Subject 1981 novel Goodnight Mister Tom

Goodnight Mister Tom is a play by David Wood, based on the children's novel of the same name by Michelle Magorian. The play earned the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment at the 2013 Laurence Olivier Awards.


Early in World War II, William Beech is billetted upon Tom Oakley in rural Dorset.[1] Oakley, a reclusive curmudgeon,[1] has been a solitary resident for 40 years since he became a widower and lost his infant son;[2] Beech is an illiterate, bruised, and starving Deptford evacuee.[2] Oakley nourishes Beech physically and emotionally until Beech's mother calls for his return to London.[2]

In the second act, Beech is back in Deptford as the Blitz continues around him.[2] With no father figure (his father had died several years earlier), his mother, "a militant Christian of the fire-and-brimstone variety," again influences his emotional demise as she abusively raises a "found" baby daughter.[2]

Production history[edit]

Goodnight Mister Tom premiered in 2011 at the Chichester Festival Theatre, directed by Angus Jackson.[2] The production moved to London with previews starting on November 22, 2012 and then ran for 9 weeks from November 27 until January 26, 2013 at the West End Phoenix Theatre, with Oliver Ford Davies as Tom Oakley, Ewan Harris and two other actors alternating as William Beech, and William Price as Zach.[3] Subsequently the production traveled throughout the United Kingdom to locations such as The Everyman Theatre,[4] Aylesbury Waterside Theatre,[5] and Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre.[6] In December 2015, it was announced that a new production of Goodnight Mister Tom would show at the Duke of York's Theatre in London from December 2015 until February 2016.[7]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The play won its nomination at the April 28, 2013 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Entertainment.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Michael Billington, after explaining that he had not read the source material, said that he was "struck by the story's debt to Oliver Twist: in both, a serially abused boy is rescued, and briefly lost, by a solitary senior." Billington praised the cast's performances and called the production "a strong seasonal show, unafraid to target the emotions."[1] Jane Shilling of The Daily Telegraph noted that "Ewan Harris as William touchingly conveys the flowering of the crushed child...but the show is stolen by William Price as Zach, whose outrageously over-the-top performance lights up the stage."[2]

West End production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2013 Laurence Olivier Awards (2013) Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment Won


  1. ^ a b c Billington, Michael (November 28, 2012). "Goodnight Mister Tom – review". The Guardian. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Shilling, Jane (November 29, 2012). "Goodnight Mister Tom, Phoenix Theatre, London, review". The Telegraph. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Goodnight Mister Tom". Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  4. ^ Davison, Colin (March 14, 2013). "Review: Goodnight Mister Tom, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham". Gloucestershire Echo. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  5. ^ Tomlins, Andrew (March 27, 2013). "Review: Goodnight Mister Tom (UK Tour) at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre". Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  6. ^ Nuttall, Annette (April 10, 2013). "Goodnight Mister Tom (Birmingham)". Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  7. ^ "The Much Anticipated Goodnight Mister Tom Opens at the Duke of York Theatre". December 19, 2015. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Curious Night at the Oliviers". Olivier Awards. April 28, 2013. Archived from the original on May 1, 2013. Retrieved April 29, 2013.