Poignant and compelling - the story of a soldier struggling to survive

Tom Page in Shell Shock SUS-160913-155107001
Tom Page in Shell Shock SUS-160913-155107001

Eastbourne College is aiming to raise awareness and funds for Combat Stress and Help for Heroes with performances of Shell Shock tonight at 6pm and tomorrow (September 24) at 7.30pm.

Shell Shock is a vivid portrayal of an ex-soldier with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Written by Neil Watkins, this story is compelling but hugely entertaining as performed by local talent Tom Page. The play is adapted from the novel Shell Shock: The Diary of Tommy Atkins.

Standing centre stage, directly addressing the audience, ex-squaddie Tommy comments on the absurdities of life outside army service. After tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Tommy’s observations on civvy street are comic, poignant and moving. His emotional responses to post office queues, a trip to Ikea, his relationships and family lead to alienation and anger.

Drawn from personal experience, Neil’s writing is direct and witty, while Tom’s performance is engaging and haunting. The play highlights the work of charities Combat Stress and Help For Heroes, for which post show collections will be made.

Tom Page is a former pupil at Eastbourne College who has appeared in a number of TV commercials and the new BBC crime drama series, Cuffs. His recent theatre performance at the Brighton Fringe in The Bula Loop, about a family living with autism, was “impressive” and “engaging” and in Code of Conduct, a new play by John Berry, a Printers Playhouse production also seen at the Brighton Fringe, Tom’s performance as Liam was described as “superbly acted” and “haunting.”

Shell Shock was developed with support from the Sussex Armed Forces Network. The play is a pilot performance for a proposed tour in 2017 that will offer broad benefits to both the civilian, serving and veteran community (including their friends and family). Using the performing arts this project will promote an understanding of mental illness in a post-military context.

Tickets are £9 from 01323 452255 or boxoffice@eastbourne-college.co.uk and you can buy two tickets for the price of one for Saturday night by quoting “combat stress” when booking.

For more information visit www.shellshock.org.uk.