Langham Court Theatre’s production of Goodnight Mister Tom, with Roger Carr in the title role, blends the talents of a large cast that includes many child actors. It runs through Nov. 24. Courtesy Langham Court Theatre

Langham Court Theatre’s production of Goodnight Mister Tom, with Roger Carr in the title role, blends the talents of a large cast that includes many child actors. It runs through Nov. 24. Courtesy Langham Court Theatre

REVIEW: A definitive armistice story at Langham Court

Production of Goodnight Mister Tom hits the mark with believable story, characters

Sheila Martindale

Monday Magazine contributor

Wow! Would someone please present a medal to Shauna Baird, for her amazing direction of Goodnight Mister Tom? My husband and Langham Court Theatre companion said, “Why can’t all the plays we see be this good?”

Why not indeed?

This is a war story, appropriate for this time of remembrance. We don’t see much of the action, but the lighting and sound tell us that someone is never coming home. We miss those people who have woven their way into our hearts.

The story is about a young boy, evacuated to the country to avoid the Blitz of London. William Beech is placed with an old curmudgeon, Tom Oakley (sensitively played by Roger Carr) who is not dealing well with the long-ago loss of his wife and child. William is withdrawn and has been badly abused. Tom has compassion and the two of them grow close and experience the healing power of love.

William finds himself in the midst of friends, who, after some initial teasing, stand by him and begin to change him. Tom finds he has a knack for storytelling and teaching. William is called back to look after his mother who has been ill, and we then learn that her true illness is of the mind. A path is found to forge a new life for himself with Tom, and we see that unfolding in the most heartwarming fashion.

There is a large cast of young people here, as well as other wonderful characters, all of them surviving war in whatever way they can. The scenes follow each other seamlessly. Tom’s dog is a character in himself – a wonderful puppet devised by set designer Bill Adams and manipulated by talented puppeteer Nathan Corpus. Other puppets, under the care of Wendy Stevens, feature a squirrel and a sparrow.

The roles of William and of Zach, a colourful young lad and fellow evacuee, are alternated by two actors each. On opening night we saw Caius Munro as William and Gabriel White as Zach, who both acted brilliantly.

I could not see anyone listed as voice and dialect coach, and it has to be reluctantly admitted that some of the British accents are a little hard to recognize and understand, but the performances are so good that it doesn’t even matter.

The adults in the piece all take multiple parts, and all are versatile and clever in their characters. There is some singing of the old war songs, such as “The White Cliffs of Dover,” which cause lumps in all our throats.

A good play tells a believable story and causes our emotions to be here or there with the characters. Phonyness has no place, and it is not found in Goodnight Mister Tom.

If you see only one story of Armistice on this, its 100th anniversary, let it be this one! Goodnight Mister Tom runs at Langham Court Theatre now through Nov. 24. Call to reserve tickets at 250-384-2142 or visit boxoffice@langhamtheatre.ca.

Langham Court TheatreLive theatre

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

Braden Holtby’s new mask designed in collaboration with Luke Marston and David Gunnarsson. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
Vancouver Island Coast Salish artist unveils new mask for Canucks goalie

Braden Holtby’s new mask features artwork by Luke Marston inspired by the legend of the seawolf

Canadian singer-songwriter-actor Joëlle Rabu will join her son, Nico Rhoades, for a livestream performance courtesy the Tidemark Theatre Jan. 29. Photo submitted
Mother/son powerhouses Joelle Rabu and Nico Rhodes join forces for Island livestream

Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre hosts online music revue

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

Dr. John Hooper to lead mid-Island based choir

Jorie Benjamin does a modern dance performance to ‘La Vie en rose’ by Édith Piaf, Louis Gugliemi and Marguerite Monnot, choreographed by Elise Sampson during the Cowichan Music Festival’s Highlights Concert at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on March 1, 2020. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Music Festival cancelled for 2021

The festival had already been limited to solo performances only for 2021

<em>Chinook Salmon: Breaking Through</em> by B.C.’s Mark Hobson was selected among 13 entries as the winner of the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Salmon Stamp Competition.
Stained-glass lighting casts a win to B.C. salmon artist

Painting of chinook is Mark Hobson’s third win in annual contest

Apollonian means “serene, calm, or well-balanced; poised & disciplined”. The natural photo art for the album includes Vancouver Island mountains, rivers and beaches. Scenes from the Cowichan River, Witchcraft Lake, Pipers Lagoon, Wall Beach and other popular Island recreation destinations accentuate the album. (RICHIErichieRichie Music Publishing photo)
Serenity Now! Richie Valley debuts third LP dubbed Apollonian

Apollonian means “serene, calm, or well-balanced; poised & disciplined”

Victoria artist Noah Layne is conducting online workshops on portrait drawing as part of the Metchosin ArtPod’s About Face portrait show. (Photo courtesy of Noah Layne)
Metchosin Art Pod doing an about-face

Renowned artist Noah Layne hosting online classes in portrait drawing

This weekend Amy Pye is holding a virtual book launch for her latest children’s book, <em>Bruce the Silly Goose</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Victoria writer and illustrator pens children’s book about COVID-19 safety

Amy Pye to hold online book launch for ‘Bruce the Silly Goose’

The pantomime ‘Snow White and the 5 Dwarfs’ has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Submitted)
Pantomime cancelled in Cowichan due to COVID restrictions

A partnership of the Cowichan Musical Society, the Shawnigan Players, and the Mercury Players.

Most Read