Heavyweight comedy arrives at Kardomah94

Published: Tuesday 5th September 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Big Daddy v Giant Haystacks is coming to Hull’s much-loved Kardomah94.

For over a decade, millions of British people were captivated by an extraordinary sports phenomenon. During the years 1976 to 1988, the whole country would sit down to watch two men, Shirley Crabtree and Martin Ruane, fight each other at 4pm every Saturday.

Big Daddy v Giant Haystacks is a show that narrates their fascinating story.

Martin Austin Ruane, better known as Giant Haystacks, was an English professional wrestler during the 1970s and 1980s. He is one of the most renowned fighters during this time, even gaining fame in Canada and the United States.

He was noted for his humongous physical size. An impressive 6’11” tall, Haystacks weighed almost 49 stone. During his colourful career, he held both the British and the European Heavyweight Championship.

Meanwhile, Shirley Crabtree, aka Big Daddy, was a little shorter at 6 ft 6 inches and weighed 26 st 9 lb at his heaviest. He had a record-breaking chest of 64 inches.

The play was originally written by comedy pair Brian Mitchell and Joseph Nixon, who are also known for BBC Four’s Jo Caulfield Won’t Shut Up and BBC One’s Live and Kicking. Other plays include Those Magnificent Men and Spy. They have won multiple awards for Big Daddy v Giant Haystacks.

At its Brighton Festival debut in 2011, the piece was a huge hit. Ross-Gurney Randall, who played Big Daddy, even won the best actor award. A few years later, it attracted a lot of attention at Edinburgh Festival.

The fascinatingly funny piece covers themes of publicity, fame, grief and guilt, whilst touching on how the two competitors were perceived by the nation.

This time, West Hull Wrinklies will be bringing the heavyweight comedy to life. Kevin Hickson plays Crabtree, whilst Simon Hart will be Ruane. Wrestling fans and newbies will be in awe as they follow the intriguing tale of the two vibrant sportsmen.

A play on the abbreviations for world wrestling promoters, such as WWE, WCW and WWF, WHW (West Hull Wrinklies) promises a side-splitting evening and a deeper look into the behemoths’ rise to stardom and subsequent fall from fame. On top of all this you will see some other familiar faces, including popular celebs, politicians and even royalty from the 80s.

With its recent transformation into one of the city’s most popular alternative venues, Kardomah94 is the perfect space to host the reenactment of this cultural sensation. Equipped with an intimate stage, bar and restaurant, the city centre hub serves as a brilliant backdrop for this nostalgic piece of theatre. This fun and lively show is bound to take you back in time to three decades past.

Big Daddy v Giant Haystacks will be performed at Kardomah94 until Saturday 9 September. Tickets are £10. For more information, please visit the Kardomah94 website.

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Published: Tuesday 5th September 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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