REVIEW: Good night Mr Tom - Manchester Opera House

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I WISH I’d taken tissues.

People told me the TV film of Goodnight Mr Tom, starring the late John Thaw, was a tearjerker but I thought a grown man like me would be able to withstand any slush and sentiment the stage version threw at me.

How wrong I was. As the final curtain fell I had to apologise to the woman next to me for excess sobbing. Indeed I fear I may have stained her cardigan.

This David Wood stage adaptation of Michelle Magorian’s novel is first class with some brilliant acting, especially from youngsters Jamie Goldberg as William and Ewan Harris as his exuberant pal Zach.

There is always a danger that young actors can be a little too, well, annoying. But the pair pitched their performances superbly and have very bright futures.

The play is set during the dark and dangerous Second World War, and follows William Beech, who is evacuated to the idyllic English countryside and builds a friendship with elderly recluse Tom Oakley (played in impressive, understated manner by Olivier award-winner Oliver Ford Davies). All seems perfect until William is summoned by his mother back to London.

The rest, you can find out yourself.

The play was on in the West End for nine weeks and begins its nationwide tour in Manchester. I recommend you see it. But take some Kleenex.

n At the Manchester Opera House until Saturday at 7pm. Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets priced £10-£28.