Mud Rats

Salford students are staging a play about friendship in the WW1 trenches leading up to the Battle of the Somme.

‘Mud Rats’ follows four Salford lads and their doubtful Sergeant as Richard, Thomas, George, and Harry sign up together “expecting France to be jolly sunny, only to find themselves lost to careless embrace during The Battle of The Somme 1916.”

Image credit: GM Fringe (Flickr)

The play is performed by students from The University of Salford and staged by Cohort Creations at The Empty Space, Kansas Avenue, Salford. Mud Rats, directed by Ciaran Cookson, will take place at Empty Space between July 27 and 28.

Alfred Cooke, who plays Richard, said: “We know the Battle of the Somme was an incredibly violent and awful conflict but the sheer amount of love these men felt for each other, brothers in arms, shoulder to shoulder, facing complete oblivion, is the main core of this piece.”

He added: “It shows genuine friendship. It’s funny and heart-breaking, amazingly detailed in how these characters would react to genuine tragedies. That’s something that you rarely see in WW1 pieces and media, separating that unfathomable number of people lost to individuals, that were real people that had goals, passions, dreams.

Image credit: GM Fringe (Flickr)

“The most appealing thing about this piece to me, and the reason I wanted to get involved, was the sheer accuracy in the language, in the presentation of the soldiers, in the marching, the drills, in the uniforms, everything has this level of heightened authenticity that I find interesting.”

Cormac Murphy, who plays Thomas and is studying for his MA in International Journalism, said: “It’s not all fun and games. There are tensions as well.”

He added: “Thomas is undiagnosed autistic, and he develops a crush on Alfie’s character. In this setting, it is not talked about. It is never brought up as a matter of fact. But there are certain moments when it is displayed.”

Alfred added: “As a modern audience, observing (they) can pick apart these little nuggets, recognise and identify it. But back then it was unchartered territory. It is interesting having these characters, very set in their own ways.”

Curtis McCarthy, who plays George, has appeared in I Am Who I say Am that was performed at the Kings Head Theatre in London and Monologue Night at Home in Manchester

Tickets are available here.

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