FEW plays pull at the heart strings as much as the Garrick’s latest production, Good Night, Mister Tom.

It is a demonstration of love between two people of different generations and very moving.

This play is set at the start of the Second World War and features an evacuee from the London docks who is billeted with a grumpy old man in a rural village.

It illustrates the power of love. In the case of Tom Oakley — gone for forty years since his wife died — and never awakened for William Beech, the deprived young evacuee.

Although all the cast are good, including five other children, the production’s success rests predominantly on the shoulders of two people — Bryan Higgins as Mr Tom and 12-year-old Benoit Normand, who attends St Bede’s school, as William.

Bryan brings out the qualities of an old man who has kept his heart of gold hidden for too long.

Benoit portrays well, a battered and bruised boy who has had religion pushed down his throat under threat of beating.

His unhinged mother even packs a Bible and a belt to take away.

Benoit makes his character slowly open up as he responds to the kindness and care he is offered. Bryan’s Mr Tom begins to take on parental responsibilities even kidnapping him when his mother takes him back.

I like Caroline Knight as the gone to the winds mother, Henry Thorman as Zach, William’s theatrical type best friend and young Frances Hartill. who manipulates Sammy, the puppet sheepdog throughout.

This show, ideal for older children, is as thought-provoking as it is charming.

The atmosphere is enhanced by appropriate background music, lighting and sound reproduction.

* Good Night, Mister Tom, is at the Garrick Playhouse until Saturday.

For tickets telephone 0161 928 1677 or book online at altrinchamgarrick.co.uk.

Star rating: * * * *