Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Performing heroism...

Review from Illuminate...


Hull Truck's trademark sparcity means the set is literally a strip of concrete road and the cast is made up of only three actors, all of which adds to the power and intensity of Dave Windass's new play.

Lee Green and Natalie Blades are excellent and work hard playing dozens of supporting roles, but the night belongs to Fidel Nanton and Clive Sullivan. It must be one thing to play a fictional character, but quite another to take on the part of someone real - a local hero - in his hometown, where his family and friends are still living. Directors Martin Barrass and Gareth Tudor Price don't let us forget how larger-than-life Sully was, projecting video clips and photos onto the back of the stage throughout. Nanton tackles (sorry, couldn't resist it!) the mammoth task with a quiet but commanding stage presence, moving the audience from fits of laughter to floods of tears.

The first half is hilarious, with lots of Hull 'in-jokes' that would probably be lost on an outsider, as the play follows Sully's rise to the peak of his rugby career. But you know what's coming, and there's almost an anticipatory bracing of backs as you sit down for the second half. Writer Dave Windass doesn't shy away from the tragic last stage of Sully's life, and Fidel Nanton is given a final soliloquy that barely leaves a dry eye in the house. Having said that, there are still lighter moments, such as when the audience responded with panto-esque boos and hisses as Sully changed in and out of Hull FC and Hull KR shirts!

Definitely see it if you're from Hull or a rugby league fan (if you're both, then this could be your perfect night out) and if you're not, it's still more than worth a look.

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