The editor sent me off to Hull Truck Theatre this week to see a new play from local actress Hester Ullyart called “Paragon Dreams”. Hull Truck is a great venue for new productions, and this one was in Hull Truck’s smaller “Studio Theatre”; which was the perfect, intimate setting.
The play was written and performed by Ullyart. She solely played most of the cast too. The play is set in Hull on Hull Fair week. Hannah, returns to the city having left a number of years ago after the sudden disappearance of her mother, Michaela Midnight, a singer on the local club scene. The play opens with Hannah at Kings Cross Station waiting for her train up north. Unfortunately, the train is cancelled, which made the audience laugh given the problems Hull Trains experienced earlier in the year. Rather than take a meandering bus service up, Hannah decides to drive.
Related: What’s on at Hull Truck Theatre
There’s a familiar conversation with various ‘hotels’ situated on Spring Bank and as there was no room at the inn, Hannah turns up on Uncle Stan’s doorstep – who owns a launderette on Beverley Road. The play follows the interaction between Hannah and Stan, with glimpses into the relationship Hannah’s mother had with him, and how Stan had treat Hannah as if she were his daughter. Hester voices Uncle Stan, slipping between the Hull and a Scottish accent with ease.
Hannah had a baby girl before she left 15 years ago and she glimpses her getting out of a car. I’m not going to go into the play synopsis too much as it would spoil a number of surprises. However, Hannah is hilarious as she tries to avoid contact with her ex boyfriend, recalls some of her troubled youth and meets her daughter who is having an equally troubled time.
This play is gripping. Ullyart superbly plays Hannah, she’s gritty, northern, has dry humour, and her acting is passionate and very emotive. Possibly the most emotive part is when Hannah tells Stan what happened to Michaela Midnight. It’s in parts uncomfortable to watch, but the audience were totally engrossed in the dialogue.
The play only lasts one hour, but this flies past so quickly. I almost felt drained with the emotional rollercoaster I had watched.
I can highly recommend this production. It’s the usual Hull Truck high standard and is part of the celebration of Hull Truck being at their new venue for ten years (Has it really been that long?).
Ticket prices are £12.50 and concessions get £2 off. Age guidance is 14+ as there is bad language and adult themes but catch this play before it ends on Saturday 4th May. It’s excellent and something I would watch again.