Hull Truck Theatre is celebrated across the UK for making powerful theatre with a strong northern voice, and their latest show really packs a punch!
The third in their Hull Trilogy (the others being Dancing Through the Shadows and The Gaul), Mighty Atoms is set in The Six Bells, a local pub that has seen far, far better days.
The place is run by Nora (Judi Earl), a larger than life mother figure with a heart of gold, who is joined by cleaner Aneta (Maya Barcot) and former boxing champion, Taylor Flint (Caitlin Drabble).
These women have very different backgrounds and personalities, yet are equally unsatisfied with their current lives. From requiring funds to save the business, to being overeducated and underpaid, to struggling with resentment over lost glory, it seems that little will change for the inhabitants of this dreary watering hole.
Enter Lauren (Danielle Henry) and Jazz (Olivia Sweeney), an unlikely duo whose friendship is hard as nails, visiting The Six Bells for a boxercise session. They are shortly followed by Grace (Anna Doolan), whose name couldn't be more removed from her demeanour.
All the while, a seventh character has been in attendance, seen only by Taylor. She is Barbara Buttrick (Kat Rose-Martin), a real life world champion in women's boxing in the 1940s and 50s. Throughout the show, the fighting spirit of Barbara proves both a nuisance and a driving force for Taylor, leading to some inspiring scenes of commitment, agility and courage.
Written by Amanda Whittington and directed by Hull Truck's Artistic Director, Mark Babych, Mighty Atoms is a tale of overcoming situations by applying oneself to a cause. With multiple references to the local area and Buttrick herself hailing from nearby Cottingham, it wasn't surprising that the show received a standing ovation.
Now is also the perfect time to stage Mighty Atoms, not only because of it being Hull's year as the UK City of Culture, but also due to the thirst for local history being greater than ever. People are actively seeking information on heroes who changed the face of the city, from Hessle Roaders to William Wilberforce. Buttrick was and still is an inspiration, and it was great to see her chatting away at the recent press night.
Earlier this year saw the city's first ever Women of the World festival, which paid tribute to figures as diverse as Amy Johnson, Maureen Lipman and Lucy Beaumont. So it is only fitting that Barbara Buttrick, who won 30 of her 32 fights, also be celebrated in style.
Mighty Atoms has some wonderful scenes of fluidic motion thanks to movement director Ella Robson Guilfoyle, complemented by a stirring soundtrack by composer Sophie Catton. Whether you're a fan of boxing, empowerment, community or just want to enjoy a good night out, this show is sure to be a winner.
You can catch Mighty Atoms at Hull Truck Theatre until Saturday 1 July. Tickets are priced £12 to £22.50 and can be booked by calling 01482 323638, or you can book online. Don't miss this opportunity to get involved in the venue's Year of Exceptional Drama.
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