the full monty

The Full Monty

Malvern Theatres

****

TRANSFERRING a movie as popular, gritty and funny as The Full Monty to stage is no easy feat, in fact its film screenwriter Simon Beaufoy himself admitted it had been "difficult".

But Beaufoy has done a wonderful job of taking the most memorable scenes from the film and condensing them into this extremely funny yet sentimental piece of theatre.

For those unaware of the story, it follows a group of unemployed desperate men in Sheffield amid the demise of the steel industry, who train to become a male strip troupe to earn some money.

Although there's the comedy of this unlikely group of strippers putting on their first show, the script also tackles grittier topics of how the recession has affected personal relationships in all of their lives, depression and homosexuality.

At the heart of this theatre show are all those bits we love. The dancing in the dole queue to Hot Stuff, the awkward rehearsals and the beautifully choreographed finale; but there's also plenty of delightful surprises and special effects that bring a few gasps.

Taking on the lead role is Footballer's Wives and Hollyoaks star Gary Lucy as likeable chancer Gaz, who goes to extreme lengths to keep seeing his son Nathan.

It's his first stage role and he does it well, with a particularly impressive Northern accent for an Essex boy.

An advantage of this play is that the touching father and son storyline seems to be explored much more on stage than in the film. Fraser Kelly, playing Gaz's son Nathan in the version I saw (there's four young actors on the tour), stole the limelight at Malvern, matched his adult colleagues with some fine acting.

Joining Lucy and Kelly are a well selected group of actors, all with charisma and charm, including Andrew Dunn from Dinnerladies, Brookside's Louis Emerick and Coronation Street's Rupert Hill. Martin Miller and Bobby Schofield make up the line-up willing to bare all - and ladies, they do.

It's a slick, thrilling and well-crafted transfer to stage for The Full Monty that thankfully keeps the essence of the well-loved original. You won't be disappointed. To 14-11-15

Alison Brinkworth

09-11-15 

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