Goodnight Mister Tom at Chichester Festival Theatre

Oliver Ford Davies is Mister Tom in Goodnight Mister Tom at Chichester Festival Theatre.   Picture: Catherine Ashmore.
Oliver Ford Davies is Mister Tom in Goodnight Mister Tom at Chichester Festival Theatre. Picture: Catherine Ashmore.
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UPLIFTING novel, clever adaptation and staging, and a production to melt even the iciest heart as it sets out on tour after its premiere at Chichester.

David Wood, who has abridged Petersfield-based Michelle Magorian’s book, is the master of theatre for children. But the play is for everyone, bringing a tear even to these seen-it-all eyes.

It tells of a boy, William, who is evacuated in wartime from London to Dorset and billeted with an elderly widower, Mister Tom.

It might be argued that Oliver Ford Davies is not quite crusty enough as Tom, but his is one of those understated performances where less is more – and he can ‘bark’ as effectively as the delightful dog.

In the production by CFT associate director Angus Jackson, the main boy actors also do a fine job, and the remainder of the busy ensemble slip easily into and out of multiple roles.