Kick starting Hull Truck Theatre’s 50th Anniversary, 71 Coltman Street brings us on an immersive theatrical adventure, a tribute to celebrate the birth of the theatre. Richard Bean successfully captured the essence of wit in a frustrating anecdote that undoubtedly left the audience beaming for the entire night.
The play is set in the 70s in a freezing cold house on Coltman Street. All Mike Bradwell (Kieran Knowles) wants to do is to tell the stories of real people and their real lives on stage, and Hull was the most unlikely and perfect place to do that. With a party of disparate unemployed actors and their own distinctive characters, they gather to improvise a play with nothing but perseverance and each other.
Part comedy, drama and cabaret, the play directed by Mark Babych is baked with enough jests and puns to keep the theatre as a huge laughing oven, including inside jokes that those who’ve lived in Hull would appreciate. The engagement with the audience goes as far as breaking the fourth wall to play Bingo and the actors joining the crowd from the seats only to criticise the play itself.
With music by Richard Thomas, it features songs of rock and roll with overzealous energy and idle lyrics that adds onto the humour. The cast (Lauryn Redding, Laurie Jamieson, Jordan Metcalfe, Hanna Khogali) showcased their vocals and instrument playing, proving their talent was not just limited to their phenomenal acting.
Although it would be worth lowering the amp volume to balance with the vocals, the creative team has gone full out to provide a precise scenic setting of the production. From set designs with details as minute as retro stickers on the piano and a broken shelf, to props of a massive dead dog and Hull’s signature white telephone box.
71 Coltman Street is a triumphant opening to begin the theatre’s Season, a one-of-a-kind local spectacle that would not fail to entertain and should not be missed. It’s safe to say that it has done the community of Hull Truck Theatre proud. And as reviewed in the play, keep trucking!