Sci-fi play stars theatre director and Portsmouth school boy

Left to right Edding Manning, Richard Stride and Mike Bayliss in the Groundling's Theatre The Boy Who Loved Star Wars
Left to right Edding Manning, Richard Stride and Mike Bayliss in the Groundling's Theatre The Boy Who Loved Star Wars
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The name Eddie Manning may ring a bell. Especially seeing as he played the role of narrator in the Olivier Award winning musical Into The Woods last year.

But this time round the 13 year old won’t be heading up to London to perform, but back where he started aged just six at the Groundlings Theatre, in The Boy Who Loved Star Wars.

Written by theatre director Richard Stride, it tells the story of a young boy, Luke, who struggles having a relationship with his father so turns to the fantasy world of Star Wars.

Richard says:’ What I wanted to do was write a play about how quite often we don’t communicate with each other, and because of that we go into a different world.

‘That’s why people go to the theatre; to take them off into a new place to take them away. One of things I’ve always been fascinated with is Star Wars.’

His experience of the franchise goes beyond childhood memories, as Richard played Ewan McGreggor’s (Obi Won Kenobis) stunt double in Star Wars Episode III.

He adds: ‘You end up playing so many different roles. I was a droid at one point. I’m good at voices that’s why I got used to that. You deal with anything they wanted you to do.

But he’s really excited about bringing Eddie into the production.

‘Watching him in Into The Woods last year,’ he explains, ‘he had such a brilliant attitude. I’ve known him for a very long time he’s such a great little actor.’

Eddie says: ‘It’s quite fun in rehearsals. Actually we just get to pretend to kill each other and stuff.

‘I definitely want to be an actor when I’m older.’

Tickets cost £9.50 to £11.50 from Groundlings Theatre on (023) 9273 7370 or visit groundlings.co.uk.