Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings


The Full Monty

Sutton Coldfield Musical Theatre Company

Sutton Coldfield Town Hall


It’s funny, brash, naughty, even very rude at times, with a few poignant moments thrown in, oh, and did we mention the promise of blokes in the buff? In short, it’s girl’s night out heaven.

And they were there in force, having a great time, not that there was nothing there for the outnumbered blokes in the audience because this is an outstanding, fun show, for everyone, and a fitting celebration of the company’s 85th anniversary.

This is the 2000 Broadway musical version, still based on Simon Beaufoy’s 1997 smash hit film, but with the story moved from Sheffield to Buffalo, New York, which did seem to have caused a little confusion among some of the audience at the interval.

The basic story is the same though, with six steelworkers unemployed since their plant closed, debts and despair mounting, deciding to go into the strip business after seeing the crowds of women flocking to a local club to see The Chippendales.

In the film, and the current touring UK play, the driving force is Gaz, in Buffalo it is Jerry played with some panache by Phil Bourn. He has a decent voice, good stage presence and is convincing as the down at heel dad in danger of losing joint custody of his son Nathan (a well rounded performance from Ethan Bowley) to his estranged wife Pam and her new boyfriend, Teddy, because he can’t make maintenance payments.


Leanne Bowkett gives us a frustrated Pam who obviously still has strong feelings for Jerry but is losing patience with his lack of a job – she even offers to employ him in her own company – and his repeated failure to make the court ordered maintenance payments, which risks losing his son.

Keith Dovey’s Teddy is everything Jerry isn’t. Hard working, successful, well-off, wimpish and . . . well, pretty boring.

Jerry’s big mate is Dave, a wonderful performance from Ben Green. Dave is, should we say, well upholstered - you will certainly get more for your money when he strips.

Green is a comic delight with a constant supply of amusing actions and gestures, often in the background, allied to some bizarre dancing – a cross between raunchy and a gorilla with itchy nether regions – and some real emotion about his job situation . . . and his weight.

Any bloke with a mini keg instead of a six-pack will know the feeling. It’s a weight problem that leads to some heartfelt despair and insecurity about who will pay to see a fat bloke, who is nothing special, strip.

Which leads to a lovely reprise of You Rule My World from his wife Georgie, telling him she married him for who he is, not what he looks like, which becomes a duet with Vicki singing the same sentiments to her husband Harold.

Georgie, played by Kerrie Davies, is the brash leaders of the gang when it come to the girls, but there is a sadness in her home life and the slow decline of Dave as he drowns in jobless lethargy.

Middle-aged Harold, meanwhile, is the old foreman at the steel mill, the man who had to sack everyone – before he too lost his job, and Harold, who just happens to be taking ballroom dancing classes, is roped in as sort of dance captain and choreographer for Hot Metal as the somewhat lumpy alternatives to The Chippendales have called themselves.

Rob Fusco plays him with the air of a man resigned to his fate, and living in fear, as he has yet to tell wife Vicki that he lost his job months ago and the bailiffs are knocking at the door for the TV and sunbed.


Hence the lovely duet from Georgie and Vicki telling their respective spouses that they love them for what they are not how they look or what they can buy.

Sally Midwinter has a good voice as Vickie which blends well with the equally fine voice of Davies and it is a pity that either she was unmiced, or her mic wasn’t working for her big first act number, Life With Harold, which was sadly largely lost. Whatever the problem it was thankfully solved for the second act.

Malcolm, played by Patrick Jervis, lives with his aging mum, and was saved by Jerry and Dave as he tried to top himself, which leads to the very funny suicide song Big-Ass Rock – as in, you can smash it on your head.

Jerry and Dave’s duet ends up as a trio as Malcolm finds hints of confidence and independence from his mother surfacing. He ends up with Hot Metal because a) there was no one else and b) they saved his life and he had no other friends.

He is a bit of a lost figure but Jervis instils him with great fun and a dance that is . . . well, closer to psycho than sexy.

Which leaves Horse, the Big Black Man, played by Fidel Lloyd, a semi-pro actor who first played the role for SCMTC back in 2009 and has been in demand in the role ever since and it is easy to see why. He can act, sing and, by golly can he dance – moonwalks included.

And finally, we have Ethan, played by Ben Adams, who can’t dance and spends his time slowly becoming brain damaged trying, unsuccessfully, to do the Donald O’Connor dance up the wall with a back flip from Singin’ in the Rain. But he does have one attribute for a male stripper. Let’s just say he doesn’t need a note for his mum to say he has been ill, or to use an excuse that it is cold in here.

Putting them through their paces is pianist and ancient theatrical Jeanette, a sort of cynical optimist, with a voice that could cut steel, played with a wonderful devil may care, or in this case, dare, attitude by Paula Lumsden.

Americans might have issue, as we do with Americans playing Brits, but all the accents sounded fine and, more important, were consistent, so you could soon forget them and just enjoy the words. 

Bourn, Green and Jervis, like Lloyd, have played the roles before, so there is an easy confidence about their performance while there is good support from a large ensemble of assorted wives and girlfriends, girl’s night outers, police, unemployed workers, care home residents and anyone else needed.

A mention too for Ed Mears as Buddy, one of the show’s Chippendale’s, who shows some pretty decent dance moves, while the whole show is brought to sparkling life by a splendidly tight nine-piece band, tucked out of sight at the back of the stage under musical director Sheila Pearson.

The company have created a flexible set, with minimal delays in scene changes and clever use of a video wall at the rear for scene backdrops, while most of the costumes look authentic and right for the time – although I will pass on the red leather jock straps.

The story touches on the devastation caused when the main industry of a town dies, and on homosexuality, whether it is the gay Buddy, or, as we discover Malcolm and Ethan falling for each other, with their moving duet You Walk With Me at Malcolm’s mother’s funeral.

Experienced director Paul Lumsden keeps things moving at a cracking pace while, considering she is not working with professional dancers, choreographer Jenny Morris has created some interesting routines and all without making the stage look crowded.

There were a few technical issues, but nothing to affect the enjoyment of a thoroughly, entertaining, well produced, fun show with it’s full monty ending. To 24-03-18

Roger Clarke


Tickets:  Town Hall box office; Mon-Fri 10am-4pm:0121 296 9543 or 

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