ACROSS the city, this same week another modern family drama is being played out at the newly refurbished Hull New Theatre in John Godber's new comedy The Kings Of Hull as part of Hull, UK City of Culture 2017.

At Hull Truck, the latest world premiere trains the lens not on 50 years of Hull life but on the troubled Ukraine, from where artistic director Mark Babych's parents found their way to England after falsifying papers to say they were Polish, having left the terror, persecution, starvation and brutality of their homeland in 1943.

There is much more to that story, enough to make another play in fact, but in re-examining and reconnecting with his family roots, Babych has taken the chance for Hull Truck to transfer Marina Lewycka’s million-selling novel A Short History Of Tractors In Ukrainian to the stage.

Adapted adeptly by Anita And Me writer Tanika Gupta, this winner of the Bollinger Everyman Prize for Comic Fiction is a comedy of a deeply dark hue about a lovesick grandfather and his two daughters at war, one raised in hellish oppression that shapes her character, the other in peace that frames hers.

Nikolai (a tremendous performance by Geoffrey Beevers as the Lear of the piece) is an 84-year-old retired Ukrainian engineer and tractor historian living over here, who has fallen in love with 36-year-old voluptuous, strutting Valentina (Ana Marija Spasojevic). So much so, he is set on marrying her and becoming a father again.

With a son (Jack Fielding's Stanislav) to keep, Valentina has eyes on his rapidly shrinking pension, much to the concern of Nikolai's suddenly united daughters Vera (Hilary Tones) and Nadezhda (Ruth Lass). Will Valentina turn out to be a refugee seeking a better chance for herself and better education for her son, or is she a bogus visa seeker, cynically cheating a vulnerable old man?

Benefiting from a set design by Patrick Connellan that skilfully combines indoors, outdoors and strategically placed suitcases for pop-up surprise entries, Babych and his ensemble cast bring Gupta's humorous yet bleak script to life with a perfectly weighted balance of the light and the much, much darker.

A Short History Of Tractors In Ukrainian, Hull Truck Theatre, until October 14. Box office: 01482 323638 or at