CommunityMusicalNorth East & YorkshireReview

Guts! The Musical – Hull Truck Theatre

Reviewer: Christopher Holmes

Director Tom Saunders

Written by Maureen Lennon

Hull is a city steeped in maritime history. It reeks of cultural opportunities and with the various regeneration projects happening all over the city just now, it feels like the right time for this story to be told.

Having first come across writer Maureen Lennon’s work in Middle Child’s brilliant Baby He Loves You (some of the best writing this critic has ever had the pleasure to enjoy) it was necessary to view this particular show with an open mind especially given her zany (almost to the point of obscurity) piece Dead Girls Rising which unfortunately didn’t strike the same chord.

Guts! The Musical, the story of the Hull Fish Packers is a community theatre project and something that Hull Truck Theatre do so well. Equal pay and working conditions are the main themes here and Hull prides itself on being an industrial hub of factory lasses and working classes. This critic who was born and bred here is proud of its culture and heritage too.

There’s a lot of heart to this community piece of real people telling real stories although, at times, it lacks the grit and tenacity of those harrowing times. The cast, clearly enjoying themselves, have created a real buzz in the auditorium tonight which is clearly full of their friends and family.

As a story it is illuminating but one we’ve heard all too often before. More a play with music than full throttle musical, it serves its purpose as a coterie production and, as community theatre often dictates, it does exactly what it says on the tin. The writing is well pitched and Tom Saunders directs his troupe of local actors with skill – no mean feat. A pre-show announcement was made, explaining that one of our players (Fred Weeks as Keith Whiting) would be using script in hand, and though reading it, as if for the first time, it didn’t seem to mar the performance. There’s heaps of talent in this wonderful city of ours and it is always refreshing seeing Georgina Garton on stage. Her dedication to the art form and to her native Hull is inspiring but to single anyone out in this vast company of strong amateur players would be a misdeed as they are, after all, having the time of their lives.

The songs are fun and a total pastiche of the 80’s and Ella Barraclough’s set and costumes are vibrant and fitting.

After a Gutsy and glittery Act 2 finale, one must confess leaving the auditorium with a smile. Forget Made in Dagenham, this is Made in Hull.

Runs until 6th July

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Made in Hull

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The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Jacob Bush. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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