Historical Musical Masterpiece Comes to Hull Truck

Published: Thursday 3rd March 2016 by Rich Sutherland

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Following on from their sellout performances of “Sister Act – The Musical” and their critically acclaimed “Into The Woods” last year, Hessle Theatre Company are now gearing up for Melvyn Bragg and Howard Goodall’s remarkable musical “The Hired Man”.

THE HIRED MAN begins at the turn of the 20th Century when young newlyweds, John & Emily, start a fresh life in the Cumbrian farmlands where they can raise a family and fulfil John’s passion of working the land. The joys of hiring fairs and village festivities begin to pale in the face of life’s struggles and soon Emily is warmed by the attentions of the local heartthrob, Jackson, with painful consequences.

Leaving for town life with their two children, the bonds of the family are further tested by the challenges of colliery life and the ultimate tragedies brought by the Great War. Based on Melvyn Bragg’s epic novel, THE HIRED MAN is a powerful celebration of the British survival spirit and a heart-rending testament to the enduring power of love.

When THE HIRED MAN was originally produced in the West End by Andrew Lloyd Webber it was hailed as the “British Les Miserables” for its soaring music, epic story and emotional heart.   It won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Musical, the TMA Award for Best Musical and earned four Olivier Award nominations.

For Stuart Raywood, who is playing the lead role of John Tallentire, it is emotionally draining and rewarding at the same time. “Life was so hard for working people in the early 1900’s and John is a man fully aware of his responsibilities and commitments” says Stuart, adding “yet there is something unique and beautiful about the community spirit in those days, something we could learn a lot from today”

The show is being directed by Martin Beaumont and has been on his list of favourite productions for many years.

Martin explains “As a life-long lover of musical theatre, The Hired Man has had a very special place in my heart for over 30 years, having fallen in love with the cast recording of the show and subsequently travelled to see numerous productions around the country over the years. As an audience member, my reaction to the piece has always been incredibly powerful and it never fails to stir strong feelings and leave me exhilarated by a dam good story (and having had a good old cry!)…”

adding “…It is somewhat rare in musical theatre to have a show that is so lacking in ‘showbiz’ – there is a purity of intent, a truth and simplicity in the story and the way it is told that is extremely potent. The story is one of ordinary people’s lives, like you or I, who have to overcome life’s struggles and find love and forgiveness (of each other and oneself). There are no sumptuous balls, or sunset romances: but life-changing events around the kitchen table or in the mud-filled trenches of the Great War. And the music and lyrics are uncomplicated by pretension and hit you straight in the gut – raising the roof or tearing directly at your heart.”

Hull Truck Theatre Tuesday 26th April 2016 to Saturday 30th April 2016 with performances every night and a Saturday matinee – call 01482 323628 or visit www.hulltruck.co.uk

Published: Thursday 3rd March 2016 by Rich Sutherland

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