The hit stage adaptation of The Full Monty, which won the UK Theatre Award for Best Touring Production in 2013, is a comedy play written by Simon Beaufoy based on his 1997 smash – hit film.
This hilarious and heartfelt revision tells the story of six unemployed men from Sheffield in 1972, four of them former steel workers, who having seen their local working mens club pack out for a performance by The Chippendales, decide to set up their own strip tease act. But they would go all the way, the Full Monty!
It must be said, most of the audience were female and I was very much in the minority but it was quite clear what many of them were there for!
Although a comedy the play does touch upon on serious subjects such as the struggles of unemployment, fathers’ rights, depression, male camaraderie, impotence, homosexuality, body image, working class culture and suicide but for many it is about the strip at its finale! Male cast were greeted with yells, cat – calls and whistles, whether fully clothed or not for simple dance routines like the “dole queue”, which was amusing but predictable.
For some, the reference to the Arsenal offside trap may have been lost but for a footie fan I was amused how it was incorporated into getting the men to understand the dance routine.
Gary Lucy, a winner of Dancing on Ice plays Gaz who wants the money so that he can pay up his lapsed child maintenance payments and continue to see his young son, Nathan, a very convincing and brilliantly cast Fraser Kelly.
Andrew Dunn (Dinnerladies and Bremner, Bird and Fortune) plays Gerald, Louis Emerick (Brookside, Last of the Summer Wine and more recently Coronation Street) is hilarious as Horse, as is Joe Gill as the timid Lomper (Finn Barton in Emmerdale). Dave, Gaz’s best mate, is brilliantly played by Kai Owen (Torchwood and Hollyoaks) and James Redmond (Hollyoaks and Casualty) plays a superb Guy.
It is not all about the male members of the cast though! Bryonie Pritchard, Keeley Fitzgerald, Liz Carney and Amy Thompson were all excellent playing a number of different roles on occasions. The women show another side of the story, the challenging journeys they face and how they ultimately take their hats off to them by supporting them.
The set was cleverly conceived, the sliding factory doors were used to good effect throughout to distinguish various times of the day and the split-level stage worked very well for a wide variety of scenes . The choreography is slickly followed and the whole show is skilfully brought together by director Rupert Hill.
The play includes many classic songs by Donna Summer, Hot Chocolate, Tom Jones and James Brown which helps to carry the show along. Combine this with the superb delivery of many hilarious lines and it really is a good night out, this entertaining and heartfelt adaptation received a deserved standing ovation at its finale.
I take my hat off to the male cast, It took a lot of balls and some cheek to pull off that final scene. I am happy to say a huge bright spotlight obscured my view for those final few seconds! Although it may at times appear a little dated, it was very amusing and the majority of the audience got what they came for. If not a hen – party an evening full of laughs and entertainment.
If you enjoyed the film, you will enjoy this production enormously!
The Full Monty continues at Derngate all this week until Saturday 19 January, at 7.30pm with matinees at 2.30pm on Wednesday and Saturday. Tickets – priced from £11* – can be booked by calling Box Office on 01604 624811 or online at www.royalandderngate.co.uk.