THEATRE Up 'n' Under by John Godber in Hull Truck Theatre reviews REVIEWS

Up 'n' Under

Hull Truck Theatre

Godber's great win

Twenty years is a long time and John Godber had spent the time at Hull Truck Theatre giving the people of Kingston upon Hull the sort of plays that they like and then passing them on to the rest of the world. Today's offering was an update of his second play "Up 'n' Under" taking as its theme Yorkshire rugby league football. Eddie Waring coined this odd phrase "Up 'n' Under" whilst commentating on the game to the thousands of followers. It refers to putting the ball into the scrum. That will leave those without the knowledge of the game completely confused, so let's get down to the play. It's a beauty, well written, superbly passed, deftly directed, with acting that could not be bettered.

Painter and decorator Arthur Hoyle is watching a game involving the best seven a side team in the league, the Cobblers arms. He gets into a heated conversation with Steve Edwards, the Cobblers coach, which ends in his statement that he could raise a team that could beat the Cobblers. His bet is taken up with the prize, Tony's house. Well that is how it starts. You would think it impossible to stage a rugby match on a small stage, but John Godber achieves it superbly. We see the worst pub team in the league, the Wheatsheaf, who can only raise four men before they are regularly beaten, taken on by Tony. He enlists the help of Hazel Scott, ex wife of a top player, who runs a fitness studio. Then the fun starts as the reluctant team are made fit for a match against the top team. The sequences in the studio and on the pitch could not be bettered. The antics are to be visually enjoyed, not described, and so the details are waiting for the theatre goer as the play makes its way round the English theatres.

Now the cast of actors, ageing butcher, Frank Rowley, is played by Rob Angell, Kate Barnes takes on the task of getting the team fit playing Hazel Scott, The mischievous little runt of the side is Reg Walsh, played by Martin Barrass, who also plays the Cobblers coach Steve Edwards, James Crossley takes on the role of Tony Burtoft, a well developed player who has desires on becoming a stripper, Arthur Hoyle, played by Iain Rogerson, is the long suffering Wheatsheaf coach, and Phil Hopley plays James Weaver the school teacher. This is a team in the real sense of the word and they produce a superb whole to please an appreciative audience. This team could not do better.

This play is to tour, it is too good for London, so rush to see it if you see those words, "Up 'n' Under. Great theatre that we want more of. © BA

“Up 'n' Under” is in Hull at the Hull Truck theatre from the 8th July to the 31st of July, 2004 and then touring.

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