Private Edward Clarke is every inch the hero to his mates, but he’s shattered inside – haunted by one particular battle on which his whole life has changed. When Major Oscar Handley is called to investigate the outcome of this chaotic firefight, his enquiry lifts the lid on Eddie’s fragile mental health, and an unlikely bond is formed between the two men.
Playing the roll of Private Edward Clarke will be Josh Collins, an emerging talent and recent graduate of the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Opposite Josh will be Shakespearean actor Andrew French as Major Oscar Handley. Andrew’s theatre credits include Boi Boi is Dead (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Julius Caeser (RSC), and Merchant of Venice (Royal National Theatre).
Andrew said: ‘I was really intrigued by the challenge of a two hander. The demands, both physical and emotional are, I think, something that all good actors look for. I found the themes of the play as relevant today as when the play was written, perhaps more so.
‘I just loved the speeches that my character, Oscar, gets to play out. I’m a warfare buff and found that I share that interest with him,’ he added.
Bully Boy is directed by Dan Sherer, Artistic Director of the Colchester based Real Circumstances Theatre Company. The show marks the beginning of Dan’s involvement with the Mercury Theatre in a year-long programme to support new work and talent development.
Dan said: ‘Bully Boy is a disturbing and powerful play from Sandi Toksvig, the renowned writer and broadcaster. Sandi exposes an unvarnished and brutal vision of war; and the devastating effects it has on those who have to undertake it.’