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The Full Monty – Bristol Hippodrome

Writer: Simon Beaufoy

Director: Daniel Evans

Reviewer: Shane Morgan


FM_Press_Shots.inddIn 1997, a small British film about a group of unemployed steel workers in Sheffield won the hearts of millions internationally. Now, in 2013, the stage version is set to do exactly the same.

For the uninitiated, we are mid-Thatcher administration and the financial and political belt is pulled tight. All the factories in town are shutting, people are losing their jobs left, right and centre and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. No wonder writer Simon Beaufoy felt now would be the right time to bring this story back to the forefront.

It’s always a concern when a successful film undergoes a stage transformation. Comparisons are always inevitable and more often than not the stage version is either a poor imitation or a watered down version. Those fears are quickly put to bed with Beaufoy’s adaptation of his own screenplay. Each of the cast carves out a new character and put their stamp firmly on the story. From the father and son arc (beautifully carried by Kenny Doughty’s Gaz and the Nathan of the night Travis Caddy) through to elder statesman and fallen foreman Gerald (the brilliant Simon Rouse), this is an ensemble to beg or borrow to get tickets to see.

Robert Jones’ design is the right mix of industrial and multi-purpose, allowing us to ease seamlessly from warehouse to street corner into nightclub in the blink of an eye. Blink and you’ll miss the nice touch at the top of the show with the new inhabitants of the warehouse flying from one girder to another. Jones’ design embraces the audience and allows them to inhabit the world for the 2 hour running time.

There is enough of the film in the adaptation to keep fans happy with a skilful adaptation for new and old audiences alike. The soundtrack and dialogue makes it feel comfortable and familiar while the cast, the adaptation and design offers up a theatrical gem that feels as good as new.

You will be hard pressed to find a piece of theatre as joyful as The Full Monty and suffice to say, with expectations being high, the finale does not disappoint. A rousing, glorious, feel good smash.

Runs until 9th March 2013.

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