Bully for you Mr Burns!

October 24th, 2014

This article is more than 9 years old.

Six out of six for an exploration of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that is murky, humorous and compelling

Sandi Toksvig got so angry with the treatment of veteran soldiers that she wrote the two-man play 'Bully Boy', which this week enjoyed its Scandinavian premiere in Copenhagen courtesy of That Theatre Company. 

Her frustration rubs off on the angsty, high-energy performance that exposes the claustrophobic torment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

Simon Kent is Private Edward Clark, a British soldier under investigation after a nightmare skirmish in the Afghani hinterland goes wrong – big time – resulting in the death of an eight-year-old Afghani boy.

The play opens with a demented Private Clark shaking in a flashback. Later we see his northern bravado repeatedly washed away to be replaced with a drooling shell of a man, prone to aggression. 

Heading up the investigation is well-spoken Major Oscar Hadley (Ian Burns), a marvellously conflicted character who is confined to a wheelchair and military desk job following a murky incident in the Falklands. 

There's an immediate friction between the two, but eventually a relationship start to grow. Although it is shaky, Major Hadley reaches across a generation to Private Clark, even though you're often left wondering who is supporting who.

Under superb direction from Barry McKenna, Toksvig's play deals with some pretty ghastly issues, but its humour lifts it from the gloom of alcoholism and depression.

Private Clark's got Avril Lavigne as his ringtone and a girlfriend who works in bakery chain Greggs – there was nothing like free sausage rolls to perk up a 20-year-old northern lad. 

Major Hadley points out that in the aftermath of the Falklands War, more soldiers died from suicide than in combat – a fact also true for the Argentinians.  'Bully Boy' certainly leaves you wondering about the deeper wounds of conflict in a play commemorating the 100th anniversary of a war supposed to end all wars.

Bully Boy

ends Nov 22; Krudttønden, Serridslevvej 2, Cph Ø; performances: weekdays 20:00, Sat 17:00; tickets 165kr, billeten.dk



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