Tom’s Midnight Garden at Theatre Royal

Tom’s Midnight Garden is a quintessential component of childhood, and this enchanting tale takes us away on the adventure we’ve all been dreaming of


Phillipa Pearce’s novel answers the question:  how can two children go on adventures and wear the same skates simultaneously, despite living almost 100 years apart? Part ghost story, part fantasy – there is something in here to satisfy the child in all of us.  

The plot follows Tom, a young boy reluctantly sent to his aunt and uncle’s under quarantine away from his ill brother. When the old grandfather clock strikes thirteen, Tom opens the door to the past.

Here he meets Hattie, a sprightly young Victorian girl, forming a charming friendship that is proven to span the test of time.

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Caitlin Thorburn as Hatty and David Tute as Tom.

The Birmingham Stage Company shows skill and dexterity in switching from actor to musician, creating a score that carries the wonder, suspense and mystery ingrained in the plot.

The multitude of settings and the pace at which they change would be a challenge for any director, but the translucent staging makes the transition effortless and convincing.

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Sure to block out the coursework blues with a beautiful children’s classic

The mild improvement in the economy doesn’t seem to have reached this production, as whilst there are advantages to stripping back a performance the almost complete lack of props seemed slightly unnecessary.

However the great acting and increased tempo in the second half certainly compensates.

The more serious themes of childhood and growing up are interspersed with laughter and adventure, leaving you both happy and sad (in a good way) at the curtain’s close.

This beautiful children’s classic is sure to block out those coursework blues. So if you’re dreaming of an escape then head down to the Theatre Royal this week.