Theatre review: Sense & Sustainability

Our theatre reviewer, Sam Sims, shares his thoughts on Sense & Sustainability at Hull Truck Theatre.

Hull Truck Theatre’s Members of Act III. All images: Tom Arran Photography.

Hull Truck’s community theatre group, Act III, are back with Sense & Sustainability, an uplifting comedy about community and compassion. Not just any theatre-making group, Act III are comprised of retired adults who sing, dance and downward dog their way through original, and carefully devised productions that will always, and I mean always, leave you with a massive smile on your face.

I adored the group’s last show, Hullovision, despite going in with, I’m ashamed to say now, expectations that were not exactly sky high. A group of over 60s giving it a bit of this and that, trying to pull off over an hour of theatre? Come off it. But what a delightful treat Hullovision was. Every member of Act III put in everything they possibly could, taking it seriously when needed but enjoying the irony and comedy that frequented it. I couldn’t stop raving about it for days afterwards – not the reaction I expected to have. 

Seeing the group come together again in Sense & Sustainability is brilliant. The show centres on a fictional down-on-its-luck northern town whose serene volunteer-run community garden may not be all it seems when its true origins come to light. 

You’re bound to be won over the minute narrator Arthur (played by 93-year-old Bernard) tells us he “screwed his way to the top”. He is an absolute highlight of the show. Other cracking lines come in the form of sexy garden-themed innuendos – who doesn’t love a bit of that? There’s also a performance of ‘I’m Just Ken’ that brings the house down.

Sense & Sustainability shows that theatre does not have to be one thing and it certainly shows that those in theatre shows do not have to look or act a certain way. This is such a quirky, fun and often random (in the best possible way) play and everybody involved is clearly having an amazing time. It’s certainly not all surface level though, there’s a section where two characters ponder over their long friendship and wonder whether there’s more out there. Can you ever be too old to want more? Aspire for more? Absolutely not. Let us always dream and let us always try to better ourselves – screw the obstacles and screw those that tell us we can’t. Act III are an inspiration and I want to be them when I grow up. 

[Sam Sims – Theatre reviewer]

Book your tickets to see Sense & Sustainability, which runs at Hull truck Theatre on Saturday 18 May at 2pm and 7pm.