This play is an adaptation of Philippa Pearce’s 1950s classic novel of a boy’s nightly voyage to a Victorian past. Quarantined in his Aunt’s and Uncle’s stuffy flat because his brother has measles, Tom is restless and bored.
Intrigued by a Grandfather clock, religiously wound by the elderly owner of the house, Mrs. Bartholomew, Tom is startled one night to hear the clock strike thirteen! Slipping out of bed he goes to what in his time is a concrete backyard, only to discover a beautiful Victorian garden of the 1880s.
He meets the unhappy orphan, Hatty, who initially is the only person who can see him, and he visits her each night at the same hour, writing enthusiastically to his brother, Peter, about his adventures. But although Tom stays the same exuberant 10-year-old, Hatty grows into a young woman during these visits. Before the story can reach its outcome, Tom has to return to his parents, but the truth is revealed in a touching denouement.
The play was first presented by Unicorn Theatre at the Pleasance Theatre, London in 2000. The following year, the production toured the UK and played at the New Victory Theatre, New York, USA.
The Unicorn production won The Equity Award for Best Show for Children and Young People in the 2001 Theatre Management Association Awards.
Read a review of the 2010 touring production here.