3-8 October 2016
Reviewed by Zoey Caldwell
I am pretty sure that 19 years ago or thereabouts, I first encountered The Full Monty the movie and I have seen it lots of times since. I love it. Love the movie, love the music and all the characters. I did wonder how would they make this fantastic movie into a stage show. Would they capture all the emotions that are quite raw in parts and essentially would they capture the humour?
Set in Sheffield in the Margaret Thatcher privatisation period. The movie and the stage show follows the life of Gaz. A steel worker laid off with the plant closure and struggling to stay on the right side of the law. His best friend Dave and insecure beer bellied all round good guy. Gaz is a lad about town, a Jack the lad and a scally! Trying more often than not to steal the steel girders left to rot to make ends meet.
Things get serious when Gaz falls short of paying maintenance for his son Nathan and faces losing contact with him for good! Nathan is his long suffering son, weekends with dad seem to usually involve some hair brained scheme from Gaz, but when push comes to shove… Nathan loves his dad and he plays his part to keep Dad in his life and if that means managing his father’s stripping career, so be it.
Circumstance forges the most unusual friendships from Gerald the uptight old Supervisor who thinks he is a cut above the others, to Lomper the Steel Work security guard that plays in the Brass Band and is none too good at tying knots. Horse and we must not forget Guy! Look out for him, you will not forget him in a hurry… the curtains come down just as your jaw will. Don’t say you weren’t warned!
Gaz and Dave stumble upon a “ladies” night at the local working man’s club. The place is stacked full of women wanting their pound of flesh, including Dave’s wife Jean. The term ladies night should be used loosely to describe behaviours of the women that night. Fab drunken gossip by the “ladies”.
Fast forward and no jobs looking likely, things are looking grim. Gaz is sure that if the Chippendales can lure those women in to spend their money, then so can he and so the hilarious capers unfold!
I have to say that the acting was brilliant, comedy timing on point and Gary Lucy has the cheeky chappy, loveable rogue down to a tee! I have to say, Dave is my favourite character in the movie and Kai Owen plays him brilliantly. There isn’t the time in the stage show to get as emotionally invested into each of their stories and personas but instead it packs in all the comedy.
Looking at the cast I did recognise a few of the actors from television and wasn’t sure how they would transfer to the stage, they managed to convince me of the characters they were playing then and there rather than “that’s the bloke from Brookie or Emmerdale”.
Nathan was amazing, as a mum though I was cringing at the language used in front of him! Prude I know. Be warned the language was colourful, true to the movie and maybe true to the steel working community! No Aires and graces! So if you are against strong swearing possibly not for you.
The set is fantastic, a rundown steel works backdrop and I am always in awe of how seamlessly the set pieces are changed. It is obviously choreographed to perfection and it shows.
There are the stand out scenes from the movie: signing on, stand up peeing by a woman and the gnomes steal the show at an interview! The script is very similar to the movie, although Gerald steals a line from Dave, “Nowt as queer as folk”, a line I remember from the movie clearly!
This is a fun evening out. I went with a much younger friend who had never seen the movie! She had no preconceived ideas and she loved it! It is a generation free production and the theatre was full of couples, hen do’s. Young ladies, older ladies, mother’s, daughters, friends and sisters alike. The room laughed when we were supposed to and this is down to the sheer hard graft that has gone into making the movie into a brilliant stage show!
Ah I am sure you have scanned the above text to see… do they really take everything off?? Yes! Do you see anything? For us, No. The lighting is so bright and timed to perfection that the actors have their modesty intact… front rows, now that may be a whole other matter!
The show deserves a 5 out of 5.
Tickets cost from £15.90 to £37.40 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
The Full Monty is at Milton Keynes Theatre until 8 October 2016. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 8717652.
Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK9 3NZ