A NEW show has opened in the West End featuring the fictional story of a Burnley soldier accused of drowning an eight-year-old Afghan during an assault on a village.
Bully Boy is the first play to be staged at the new St James Theatre, near Buckingham Palace.
Written by Sandi Toksvig the show pits a wheelchair-bound veteran of the Falklands War, Oscar (Anthony Andrews), against a 20-year-old soldier from Burnley, Eddie (Joshua Miles).
Eddie, it emerges, did not fire one round in the face of enemy fire, so why did he turn on the child?
The play has received huge acclaim since it launched last month.
Toksvig, famed for her comedy performances, goes down a much darker route for her first stage show.
She said: “I remain full of rage on behalf of the young men who have been sent to do older men’s political bidding.
“I am thrilled to have penned this piece and have it become the opening production at the new St James Theatre. North, south, I need people to pay attention – not to me but to the men whose voices deserve to be heard.”
As well as being Toksvig’s first show it is also 22-year-old Joshua Miles’ debut.
The actor from Higher Walton said: “It is a poignant play, it is a very powerful piece.
“It is so rewarding to get the reaction we are getting. The reviews have been fantastic.”
The show features Major Oscar Hadley investigating allegations of gross misconduct within a self-styled ‘Bully Boy’ unit of the British army. When young squaddie, Eddie Clark is interrogated, Oscar begins to discover that ‘truth’ in a modern insurgency can be a point of view rather than a fact.
Bully Boy tackles moral issues of contemporary military occupation and its effect on the mental health of serving soldiers.