IF you were waiting for Godber at his old Hull Truck stamping ground as part of Hull's UK City of Culture 2017 celebrations, instead you will have to head for the newly refurbished Hull New Theatre.

No Hull Truck invitation was forthcoming to its most successful playwright and former artistic director. Nevertheless, the City of Culture rightly saw fit to give John Godber the chance to mark this special year with a new work with the city at the heart of it. And so here is A New Comedy By John Godber as the programme cover announces.

Presented by the Wakefield-based John Godber Company and Theatre Royal Wakefield, The Kings Of Hull is a Godber work on the grandest scale since he opened the new Hull Truck Theatre in Ferensway in 2009 with Funny Turns, an all-singing, all-dancing show that was neither a musical nor, in truth, a play, instead being several plays that could not settle on being one.

Good news, The Kings Of Hull still has singing and dancing but it also has a play, one full of familiar Godber tropes, as Funny Turns was, but with a better sense of focus built around the central character of Malcolm King, a role written for son of Hull and perennial son of Berwick Kaler's panto dame in York, the fully recuperated, post-crash Martin Barrass.

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Pippa Fulton as hair salon boss Kealey King in The Kings Of Hull

It is a family affair in more ways than one: three generations of the King family are at the core of the plot and the extended Godber "family" is to the fore in presenting the play. Wife Jane Thornton plays Becky King, daughter Elizabeth Godber is the assistant director, and Hull Truck stalwart Barrass is joined in the company by Robert Angell and Hull-born Pippa Fulton from the Funny Turns cast.

It is a familiar affair too, or at least it is for those who live in Hull or know their East Riding from their Humberside; their Swanland from their Preston Road, their Tigers from their Pirates, and especially their Robins (Hull KR) from their Airlie Birds (Hull FC) in a divided Rugby League city. So much so that this is writer-director Godber's most parochial play of all time, pretty much for Hull eyes only, but why not in this year of years for the dock city at the end of the line.

The laughter and nods of recognition, the cheers, the jeers and even the odd tear, all fit in with the mood of celebration in a year when it is truly never dull to be in Hull.

There are no hidden depths, no new heights either, in a play as expansive as the Humber Bridge but this is solidly sturdy Godber storytelling from the well-established tree of northern life, its gently grumpy, gruff, irreverent Yorkshire humour and emotional triggers built on family bonds, friction points and sibling rivalries in a changing world.

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Martin Barrass and Jane Thornton as husband and wife Malcolm and Becky King

Told in his trademark mode of direct address at Malcolm and Betty's golden wedding anniversary party, Godber interweaves 50 years of the King family's struggles and joys with the city's fluctuating sporting endeavours, from Millward to Windass; the Hull flood of 2007; the legendary Spiders nightclub, the Adelphi and the Welly; even Brexit.

The city docks, council gardens and parks, Hull prison, a lottery win, the coal trade, failing health, thieving and a hair-salon chain all play their part in a story where sporting allegiance is the driving force.

Barrass, always good at pathos, plays the thwarted Malcolm, rejected as a young player by his beloved Hull KR but undying in his support, as he comes up against long-suffering wife Becky's passion for Leeds United (any excuse for a dig at Leeds in Hull), daughter Kealey (Fulton) deserting to Hull FC and her lesbian sister Jenny (Josie Morley) supporting Hull City.

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Ruby Macintosh of Ruby And The Vinyl

Robert Angell, a non-Hullensian allowed into Godber's Hull cast because he's always terrific comic value, nails all the killer putdown lines as arch-cynic Trevor, Malcolm's lugubrious prison-officer brother, while Peter McMillan steals scenes and much else besides as light-fingered Karl.

What's "new" in the "new" John Godber comedy? Step forward the observational original songs of the wedding-party band Ruby And The Vinyl, a perky addition in the vein of Hull alumni The Housemartins and The Beautiful South, who provide welcome changes of rhythm.

This is important because, where Bouncers once flowed and, yes, bounced with constant movement, there is a tendency towards stand-and-deliver in The Kings Of Hull, but the punchline hit rate is high, so, Hullensians, you are in for a Hull of a good time.

The Kings Of Hull runs at Hull New Theatre until October 7 as part of Hull, City of Culture 2017. Box office: hulltheatres.co.uk or 01482 300306.