7-12 November 2016
Reviewed by Linzi Davies
When tickets became available to see this classic film re-enacted on stage with the added bonus of one of my all time favourites, Gary Lucy, giving the audience that extra something, I was there like a shot. The Liverpool Empire is a lovely theatre which housing some huge stars in many musicals, pantomimes and stage productions alike. We made our way in by car and parked a short ten minute walk away by Liverpool One, although the train and bus service to the venue are also very good.
The Fully Monty was released on screen in 1997, although set slightly earlier in the late 1980’s in Sheffield, a former great in the steel industry, left languishing after interference from the Conservative Government and suddenly poverty and lack of child support takes over. The film tells the tale of 6, down on their luck males, who want set about becoming a group of strippers after the factory closes. That’s the basic theme but it is a story of so much more. The original writer, Simon Beaufoy has adapted it for the stage and what an absolutely magnificent job he’s done. I was initially concerned that the script would be dated, but in all honesty although the decades have past, the majority of issues addressed and focused on within the story are still very real in today’s society and I think that’s why it is still so very current.
It’s hard to see how recession, custody battles, homosexuality, depression and suicide amongst other things could actually be funny, but it was. Hilariously, laugh out loud funny whilst giving the issues the respect they rightfully deserve.
The casting was inspired, Gary Lucy (Eastenders, The Bill, Hollyoaks, Footballers’ Wives) was excellent as Gaz, his main success being unsuccessful at everything including being a criminal, however he portrayed a warm, loving, sometimes heart breaking relationship with his son Nathan (Reiss Ward) who he wanted to make proud of him. Nathan, (Reiss) himself was inspired, such fantastic acting from the 12 year old from Sheffield who rightly gave his dad a right kick up his ‘buns of steel’ when he threatened to quit in the 11th hour.
Dave, (Kai Owen) was just perfect for the part of the down trodden ‘fat b*****d’ and the scene wrapped in cling film whilst feeding his face was hilarious. Good to see Kai having some fun after his recent very serious role in Hollyoaks which gained him a lot of recognition for his undoubted acting ability. The three main characters were assisted by other well-known actors, Chris Fountain (Guy), Louis Emerick (Horse, cough cough), Anthony Lewis (Lomper) and Andrew Dunn (Gerald) who was so good, I actually checked he wasn’t the original actor from the film, his likeness and mannerisms were fabulous.
The 6 and their manager, Nathan, made the crowd roar with laughter whilst practising their routines including the world famous dole queue, hot stuff jig. The lines often crude and mildly offensive were delivered with finesse and humour. So, as the title states, did they do The Full Monty????
OF COURSE THEY DID!!!!
I would seriously recommend getting along to see this show, it is everything you could want from a screen adaption and so much more, this afternoons plans, a brew and a bit of Robert Carlyle in the film version.
Tickets cost from £13.90 to £35.40 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
The Full Monty is at the Liverpool Empire until 12 November 2016. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 8713017.
Liverpool Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 1JE | 0844 8713017