The Full Monty – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Reviewer: Lauren Humphreys

Writer: Simon Beaufoy

Director: Michael Gyngell

Design: Jasmine Swan

Adapted by Simon Beaufoy from his own 1997 film script, the play version of The Full Monty is a lovingly crafted, fitting addition to the legacy of the much-loved movie.

Sheffield in the 1990s was as grim as it was possible to get in Britain post-Thatcher. Beaufoy’s tale of six unemployed men (four former steel workers from this this city synonymous with the industry) may appear high on humour on the surface but there’s just as much pathos, exploring as it does themes of: depression, father’s rights, homosexuality, impotence, body image, working-class life and suicide.

Ex-steelworker Gaz (Danny Hatchard) has custody and child support issues since being made redundant. With pal Dave (Neil Hurst) they have resorted to nicking scrap metal (with kid in tow) to make ends meet. When the pair see women lining up to see a male strip act at a local club, a seed is sown. They hatch a seemingly absurd plan to create their own troupe with “buns of steel”, promising that unlike their contemporaries, they will go “the full monty”.

The duo are joined by Lomper (Nicholas Prasad) a former security guard whose suicide attempt they foil. Gerald (Bill Ward), an ex-salesman hiding his unemployment from his wife, older man Horse (Ben Onwukwe) and Guy (Oliver Joseph Brooke) who can’t dance but has other attributes useful to the group.

There’s a rocky rehearsal road and plenty of dilemmas to face, ultimately culminating in the now-famous Full Monty performance. The first act is a slow burn to establish the character’s back stories and is lower on laughs than the second where the humour really ramps up. Where the piece enlivens is in the dance scenes which are met with whoops and hollers from the audience, clearly up for a wild night out.

The ensemble cast are almost universally excellent, one note of criticism would be Hatchard’s portrayal of Gaz which comes across as lacking a little bit of the necessary likeability, though there is energy and commitment from him from start to end. The same can’t be said of Neil Hurst’s Dave who is a shining light throughout, with impeccable comic timing and a well-portrayed sensitivity alongside the bravado.

The Full Monty remains a classic and stands up to repeated viewings.

Runs until 24 February 2024 then touring | Image: Ellie Kurttz

The Reviews Hub Score

A classic

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The Reviews Hub - Scotland

The Scotland team is under the editorship of Lauren Humphreys. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. We aim to review all professional types of theatre, whether that be Commercial, Repertory or Fringe as well as Comedy, Music, Gigs etc.

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