Goodnight Mister Tom Icon

Phoenix Theatre

Charing Cross Road WC2H 0JP

Goodnight Mister Tom

Phoenix Theatre 3D location mapMap ©Silvermaze Ltd 2008 Phoenix Theatre photoPhoto ©Tony Reading 2008

Show Details

Preview 22nd Nov 12
Opens 27th Nov 12
Closes 26th Jan 13

Show Times

Tues - Sat 7.30 pm
Matinée Thur & Sat 2.30 pm

Length of show - 2hrs 15mins

Local Info

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A classic viewing of all the Theatreland play houses by night. The authentic commentary, by Ben Shafik - a player himself - gives an authentic feel to the West End's theatres - and is backed by real music.
Next version will be more upbeat as, suggested, to celebrate Britannia's unbeatable heritage.
(Over 6000 viewings and all good reviews to date).
Let us know what you think.

A note from the author

I took these pictures to show off London theatres as they are seen -most often - by theatre goers, at night.

Thanks to Ben Shafik for his lighthearted and informative commentary and Fionn O'Lochlainn for the original music.

Watch out for the new version with current liveries and the names of the theatres as they appear.




  • Oliver Ford Davies - Mister Tom
  • Louise Collins
  • Joanne Howarth
  • Aoife McMahon
  • Freya Parker
  • Georgina Sutton
  • Alan Vicary
  • Jonathan Warde
  • Emma Drysdale
  • Elisa de Grey
  • Bradley Hall
  • Osmund Bullock
  • Arthur Gledhill Franks - William
  • Jamie Goldberg - William
  • Ewan Harris - William
  • Joseph Holgate - Zach
  • Thiago Los - Zach
  • William Price - Zach

  • Book - Michelle Magorian
  • Lyrics - Michelle Magorian
  • Music & additional lyrics - Gary Carpenter
  • Adaptation - David Wood
  • Director - Angus Jackson
  • Design - Robert Innes Hopkins
  • Lighting - Tim Mitchell
  • Choreography - Lizzi Gee
  • Sound - Gregory Clarke
  • Producer - Fiery Angel, The Ambassador Theatre Group, Fiery Dragons & The Children's Touring Partnership present the Chichester Festival Theatre Production


This play is based on a book that won the Guardian award for Childrens' literature.

It is set in 1938 - While Neville Chamberlain was off signing over 'appeasing' chunks of Europe to Hitler, John Anderson (home secretary) was planning the logistics behind the devastation of Britain's civilians - operation 'Pied Piper' a mass evacuation to the countryside or abroad where local officials took over people's houses and lives to billet the children anywhere they could. Although his name is remembered more for the monstrosity of ghastly bomb shelters - unfit for animals - he perpetrated untold (literally) suffering on families throughout the land. The terms "grin and bear it" and "Do your best" were the gist of the vile instructions he handed to the people who had to implement the inept ivory tower plans of government.

The story of this mass displacement of children away from their parents also happened in other parts of Europe including, oddly Switzerland where the silence is now being broken with some horrific stories of child slavery.

Mr Tom - OakleyIt is against this setting that Mister Tom was written about William Beech a poor raggedy little boy from the East End sent to stay with an old man Tom Oakley and his dog. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, published in the 50's was also against this setting though immensely more real.

Generally the countryfolk managed to accept and look after the migration of about 3 millions of artificially 'orphaned' children with many instances of contribution from both the host families and the evacuees.


One such instance is this story of how Tom Oakley - a host, warms to William Beech - an evacuee, who arrives starved, bruised and beaten with the bible that justifies his mother's predIlection for punishment packed in his case with the belt - supplied to administer more of the same.

Mr Tom and Mother

Tom gradually abandons his recluse ways and starts to enjoy caring for William and even teaches him to read and write. Another evacuee Zach and William become friends and 'integrate' as it is now called having initially been taunted as a 'vaccie vermin' by hostile local children in their new home town.

The action is packed with different circumstances through which the characters experience tragedies and joys. The underlying tragedy of war is forever present - coupled with the humble acceptance by the characters of such knowledge that has been passed to them by the perpetrators of the war and the church.

The children are portrayed as people instead of kids as was intended in the famous book by Michelle Majorian as a childrens' book.. They take it all on - the sin, the self blame in the facts of the matter and thus make their own decisions. They are more able eventually, than the adults to accept a new and better life.

Mr Tom & William

They have formed a bond that has evolved over the play culminating in a new beginning of a nourishing, heartful friendship between young William Beech and old Tom Oakley.

There is music in intervals and during scene changes of the uplifting nature of the songs of the time. the trailer is well worth watching. It's good.

Booking IconEvery body should take children of all ages to this play - it has a shortish run booked so get some tickets and have your heart nourished this Christmas.... and / or the New Year..

© 2017 Updated 27th Jan 2013