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The Butchers Bill - Canny Craic Theatre Company

The Exchange
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The Butcher's Bill a play by Ken Reay comes to The Exchange from Canny Craic Theatre Co.

A drama, set in No Man's Land during World War1, that shocks from the first scene. The Butcher's Bill explores the world of three unlikely companions, thrown together by circumstances and fate. 'Uncle' a wily old soldier, enlisted by lying about his age. 'Uncle' brings his experiences from a previous life as a ship's cook and butcher to help him escape the trenches, he will do anything to survive. 'Boy' a simple sensitive soul who should never have left his mother and home, persuaded by his brothers and friends to join them, 'Boy' is the only survivor of his unit, shell shocked and traumatised he is cared for by 'Uncle'. 'Toff' is a young officer, middle class and patriotic. 'Toff' should also have been refused enlistment due to his poor eye sight, he stumbles across the others after being badly wounded.

'Uncle' tells 'Boys' stories and tales of his adventures on the high seas to calm and sooth 'Boy's' nerves. 'Toff' arrives and woos 'Boy' with stories of home and his ancestry of knights and castles, but 'Uncle' sees through 'Toff's' plan to get 'Boy' to help him by putting 'Uncle' and 'Boy' in danger of being shot as deserters.

Using simple scenery, props and equipment the horrifying story of fate, survival and trust or distrust unfold. The rights and wrongs of the politics of war are secondary to the sheer terror of being caught for two of the characters. Bravery and patriotism both real and perceived weave threads through the story; eventually the truth comes out with the help of war poetry and honesty leading to understanding and sympathy but the brutality of war continues.

You can view selected extracts from the play on YouTube by following this link www.youtube.com/watch?v=IY8nWSkgzAw&t=126s

This is a 16 + show. Tickets are £8.50 and concessions at £7.00. www.ticketsource/theexchange or the box office.


The Exchange