Mr Tom's return to rural Devon
A MOVING production of the Second World War novel Goodnight Mr Tom will be staged at its Devon setting.
The play, which is regarded by many as a British classic, will be performed entirely by people from the Kentisbeare area.
This musical version will tell the story of William Beech, an artistically-gifted young boy who escapes his brutal home life when he is evacuated with other children to Devon during the conflict.
William is rescued from his hideous upbringing at the hands of his deranged mother when he is taken into the care of Mister Tom, a lonely old man who initially begrudgingly befriends him.
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It continues to enthral audiences in London's West End with its tenderness and humour which contrast with the serious social and historical issues.
The five-night run is the work of Kentisbeare Performing Arts which has put together a cast of 40 people from the parish and will be held at the village hall.
When the novel, by Michelle Magorian, was first published in 1981, it received impressive reviews, winning Literary Awards in Britain, America and Australia, and the film, television and musical versions have continued that runaway success.
The Kentisbeare community-based production, which also ties up with a library exhibition in Cullompton, has the active backing and support of author Michelle Magorian and lyricist Gary Carpenter whom it is hoped will both attend the opening night on Tuesday, October 29, to make it a 'red carpet' evening.
Since its recent formation, Kentisbeare Performing Arts has already raised more than £2,000 in voluntary donations from families and friends, plus programme sponsorship and advertising from regional and local companies in eight weeks. This money will help pay for both production, programme and performing rights costs of the ambitious and professional shows.
The leading male role of Mister Tom will be played by Geoffrey Nicholson, who has produced and written many plays and pantomimes, and Adam Vosper will star as William Beech. Another young actor, Jake Archer, who plays Beech's friend and fellow evacuee Zach, is taking his role so seriously that he is being sponsored to have his long hair cut so he looks like the 1940's boy he plays.
The show will run every evening from 7.30pm until Saturday, November 2. There will also be a matinee performance at 2.30pm on Saturday afternoon.
Tickets are selling fast with 300 of the 500 available seats already taken and the Thursday and Friday nights have both sold out. Tickets are still available for the other performances from Kentisbeare post office or online at www.kpa.ticketsource.co.uk.