Writer: Simon Beaufoy
Music: Ben and Max Ringham
Director: Daniel Evans
Reviewer: Fran Winter
16 years after the release of the film, Sheffield sees the return of The Full Monty to its home town, in a production led by Artistic Director Daniel Evans.
The production translates seamlessly from screen to stage, with the impressive set design bringing to life an old disused steelworks and the streets of Sheffield.
The opening scene sets the standard for the rest of the performance. We see Gaz (Kenny Doughty), Dave (Roger Morlidge) and young Nathan played brilliantly by Travis Caddy in tonight’s performance attempting to steal a steel girder with hilarious consequences.
Every inch of the performance is slick and seamless throughout, with quick scene and costume changes.
The rest of the cast provide strong support, in particular Rachel Lumberg as Jean, Dave’s long suffering wife. Craig Gazey, most recognizable for his part in Coronation Street, plays a brilliant part as pathetic, suicidal security guard Lomper and Simon Rouse makes his part, as middle class, grumpy conservative Gerald extremely likeable.
There are some real belly laugh moments in the recreation of the most iconic scenes from the original film – Gaz’s first attempt at stripping to Hot Chocolate’s You Sexy Thing, Horse’s enthusiastic audition and the classic dancing in the dole queue.
The humour is well balanced with some genuinely touching moments. The play captures the grim reality of recession, austerity and unemployment under an eighties Thatcher government; and its effect on human pride, desperation and self-confidence.
It is such moments in which the audience emphasises with the characters as they battle with other themes such as body image, divorce, homosexuality, the class divide and depression. As the audience relates to these real issues they are with the six brave amateur male strippers on their emotional journey all the way to the end of the show.
The final scene, meets its high expectations, and is rewarded with an appreciative and respectful theatre audience; they could so easily have cheapened the performance had they behaved differently.
Even the male audience members were loudly cheering on the guys as they stepped out to do their eagerly anticipated performance.
The Full Monty is a thoroughly enjoyable and professional piece of theatre from beginning to end. It is good to know that men can be just as self-conscious about the way they look as the female population.