Mandurah performer in 'fantastically funny' farce about house guest pest

Local performer Rhett Clarke has been hard at work rehearsing for a new show that explores how far people might go to rid themselves of an unwelcome house guest.

Hailing from Karnup, Clarke stars as young architect Willum in The Nerd - a side-splitting comedy from Serial Productions, written by US playwright Larry Shue and directed by Joe Isaia and Rob Warner.

The story follows Willum who is visited by ex-GI Rick Steadman - a man he has never met but who saved Willum's life after he was seriously wounded in Vietnam.

Despite being delighted when Rick shows up unexpectedly at his apartment on the night of his 34th birthday party, Rick's awkward manner and inappropriate behaviour soon throws the occasion into shambles.

A flower farmer by day, Clarke said his character was not completely void of a backbone, but did lack "gumption".

"Willum is a really nice guy but possibly a little too nice," he said.

"In his struggle to appease everyone, Willum finds himself in increasingly stressful and awkward situations throughout the play.

"I also have to turn into a pig."

Acting for the past six years, Clarke has performed in various roles with the Old Mill, KADS and Garrick Theatres.

He said his latest production had been particularly rewarding.

"The Nerd appealed because it was an opportunity to work with a superb cast and crew," he said.

"Balancing the struggle between his true desires and self-imposed obligations has perhaps made this the most difficult role for me."

Director Joe Isaia described The Nerd as a classic fish-out-of-water story and said audiences could expect a lot of laughter and cringe-worthy awkwardness.

"One of the challenges is keeping everything as real as possible while dishing out the laughs," he said.

"We want the audience to identify and sympathise with our characters in what are sometimes extraordinary circumstances."

The Nerd will be on stage at the Old Mill Theatre until August 24. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit the Try Booking website.