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TV star Tim to tell a soldier’s story

PUBLISHED: 06:00 29 December 2018 | UPDATED: 11:00 15 January 2019

Tim Marriott tells the comic yet dark story of a traumatised ex-soldier in Shell Shock - The Diary of Tommy Atkins at the Quay Theatre.

Tim Marriott tells the comic yet dark story of a traumatised ex-soldier in Shell Shock - The Diary of Tommy Atkins at the Quay Theatre.

Smokescreen Productions

A comedy drama featuring comedy veteran Tim Marriott in aid of Help for Heroes is coming to the Quay Theatre in the New Year.

Tim Marriott in Shell Shock - The Diary of Tommy Atkins at the Quay Theatre in SudburyTim Marriott in Shell Shock - The Diary of Tommy Atkins at the Quay Theatre in Sudbury

Shell Shock - The Diary of Tommy Atkins is an acclaimed award-winning solo comedy drama.

It is a stage realisation of a former soldier’s diary charting his chaotic rollercoaster of a journey through trauma-related stress and anxiety.

As he rails against the world, Tommy muses on the absurdities of the everyday, but as life appears to conspire against him nothing is safe from his increasing outrage - post office queues, Ikea, computer games and ‘phone zombies, all feel the force of his frustration.

The play is adapted from former soldier Neil Blower Watkin’s acclaimed diary and performed by comedy veteran Tim Marriott, best known from his sitcom days as deputy leisure centre manager, Gavin in seven series of The Brittas Empire and also as RAF Pilot Tigger Thompson in Allo, Allo.

Ultimately a life-affirming tale, Shell Shock is hard-hitting but rich with humour.

It won a New York Fringe Encore Award and was named best solo show at the 2018 Adelaide Fringe before touring Australia in support of the Invictus Games.

The play has been praised for the way it resonates with anyone who has ever experienced stress, trauma or anxiety and allows them to identify with Tommy and find comfort in his story.

For Tim, the story’s humour is compelling: “Much of the play’s power comes from comedy, sometimes very dark,” he said.

“It’s amazing how effective it can be at opening doors and minds to the issues involved.

“Neil Blower’s writing is laced with humour, he is a fantastically positive chap who has been to hell and back, and come out not only fighting but able to laugh at himself – it is a privilege to represent him on stage”.

Mental illness caused by severe stress and trauma is still a source of stigma, and all too often it remains undiagnosed and untreated.

Tim said: “Stress and anxiety affect people in many ways, and can leave us mentally and physically drained. The key is to talk about it.

“We talk about our physical well being, but not out mental health. Well, Tommy’s about to kick off and get that conversation started!”

Tim’s other TV credits include Doctors, The Bill, An Actor’s Life for Me, The Main Event, Luv and film credits include forthcoming features The Real Thing, Love Type D and Revelation.

He recently returned to the stage after a 17-year break teaching English and drama. He is in two other productions - All Change, and Mengele, which sold out at Edinburgh and Adelaide Festivals last year.

Shell Shock - The Diary of Tommy Atkins is at the Quay Theatre on January 25. Bookings can be made via the theatre website or by ringing the box office on 01787 374745.

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