WIRRAL teenager Richard Thompson could soon be treading the boards at London’s Covent Garden after making a remarkable stage debut in the Wilfred Owen musical drama Bullets and Daffodils.
The 17-year-old from Bebington, a student at Wirral Grammar School, appeared in the lead role as the celebrated Birkenhead war poet at the Cheshire village where Owen wrote his first verse.
Author Dean Johnson, who manages The Wilfred Owen Story exhibition in Birkenhead, said Richard had made such a good impression that, school commitment permitting, he would be prepared to offer him a the role in a week-long production at Covent Garden in July.
Dean said: “Richard was chosen for the role because he bears a striking resemblance to Wilfred and his acting shows a sensitivity that would have been characteristic of the poet.”
His debut performance was at a village hall in Bickerton overlooked by Broxton Hill, where Owen gained inspiration for his first poetic lines.
Dean revealed: “Richard showed no hint of nerves – he was brilliant. There were 80 people in the hall and it was generally acknowledged that it was the most powerful production ever seen there.
“It was a mixed audience with a lot of young people as well as older people from Chester and the surrounding area. A small group of people came from as far away as Morecambe.”
Owen’s work was characterised by his anger at the cruelty and waste of war, which he experienced on the Western Front during World War 1.
In October 1918 he was awarded the Military Cross for bravery. The following year he was killed while attempting to lead his men across the Sambre Canal at Ors in northern France.