Bradwell, who founded Hull Truck theatre in 1971 and is returning to the Bush for his 22nd production to date (and still counting), is a vigorous proponent of the character-led school of theatre. He first met Zajdlic in 1988, when Zajdlic and his co-performer from student days, Richard Crowe, were rehearsing Cock and Bull Story for the Lyric Studio. Bradwell was brought in to 'help out with the directing; in fact, he directed it. Bradwell's proud boast is that he has never directed a play by a dead writer. 'My problem is that I think theatre is new writing,' he confesses. 'Anything else is either academic or nostalgic.'
Cock and Bull Story was a gritty exploration of male sexuality and machismo. Rage is equally tough, confronting the manifold prejudices which arise when a disaffected, middle-class youth stabs a policewoman and then hangs himself in police custody. 'It's more hard-edged than most of the work I do,' admits Bradwell, but what draws him to Zajdlic's writing is what he cautiously describes as a 'Chekhovian quality - if that doesn't sound too pretentious. It's his ability to turn on a sixpence between something which is very high drama and very, very funny.'
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