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28th Jun, 2022

Curtain to open on moving wartime tale after two-year pandemic delay

A MOVING wartime tale about a young evacuee is the latest production coming to Rugby Theatre – two years after it was originally planned.

Goodnight Mister Tom tells the story of eight-year-old Willie Beech, who is evacuated to the idyllic English countryside and finds himself living with a reclusive widower called Tom Oakley.

Although Willie and Tom find it hard to adjust to their life together at first, they gradually develop a strong bond. But everything is thrown into confusion when Willie is recalled to London by his neglectful and abusive mother.

The show was originally planned for Easter 2020 but had to be put on hold just four weeks before going on stage due to the pandemic.

The show’s director Kevin Bright said: “The cast had put in such a lot of hard work I promised that every one of them could still have their part whenever the show took place – even if the children were bigger than some of the adults!”

Kevin described the show as a ‘dark tale’ set in scary times with war on the doorstep – but added it carried a message of hope that still rings true today.

He said: “When I mention Goodnight Mister Tom to anyone, it brings back warm memories of either reading the book by Michelle Magorian, or watching the film starring the late, great John Thaw.

“The show is hard hitting at times but also has lighter moments. Audiences will go through a whole rollercoaster of emotions and come out the other side lifted, with a sense of hope for human kindness.”

The Henry Street venue, which turns 78 this year, reopened in March having undergone a major refurbishment during its two years of pandemic-enforced closure, with a new-look bar, improved facilities and a more inclusive social space.

Goodnight Mister Tom runs from April 8-16, with matinee performances at weekends. Tickets are available from the Rugby Theatre box office by visiting www.rugbytheatre.co.uk or calling 01788 541234.

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