Reviewed by Louise Edwards
The Full Monty, Simon Beaufoy’s award-winning play, based on the film of the same name kicked off its 2019 tour at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal last night to a sell-out audience. The audience was, perhaps unsurprisingly, women who gave plenty of banter to the cast, especially for a Monday night! Think they will be in for a riotous week!
Directed by Rupert Hill, the play is set in post-industrial Sheffield in the 1990’s. Sheffield, a city built on steel manufacture, is on its knees crippled by the closure of steel works and the loss of hope that unemployment brought to many.
We see Gaz, played by TV star Gary Lucy (Hollyoaks, Eastenders, The Bill) struggling with maintenance payments that enable him to see his son, Nathan, played brilliantly by Fraser Kelly who showed much promise as an upcoming star.
In an attempt to make ends meet Gaz and Dave (played by Kai Owen, star of Torchwood), his mate from the days working on the crane at the Steelworks break into the steelworks to steal girders they can sell. Dave is suffering with a negative body image and low self-esteem and finding it difficult to communicate with his wife, Jean. Lomper, played by Joe Gill (Emmerdale) is the night watchman in the steelworks is saved from taking his own life by the lads and their friendship is sealed.
Meanwhile on the other side of town, Jean (played by Liz Carney) and her mates are off to see strippers, The Chippendales, strictly no men allowed! After overhearing the women chat an idea is born for Bums of Steel and the recruiting of the rest of the team commences! Gerald, played by Andrew Dunn, hiding the fact he lost his job six months ago from his wife, teaches dancing at the Conservative Club and isn’t an obvious choice for joining the lads but he is enlisted to help them with their moves. Auditions underway see the arrival of Horse played by Louis Emerick (Brookside, Benidorm to name a few) and Guy (played by James Redmond.
The Full Monty deals with some serious issues – unemployment, impotence depression, poverty, body image and homosexuality to name just a few – but the humour in it brings a true sense of feel good and through it all you can’t stop laughing at the comedy delivered with impeccable timing. There were parts from the film that I had forgotten and of course the fab scene in the Job Centre when a song comes on the radio and toes start tapping is classic!
The play is a cheeky (pardon the pun) representation of the gritty reality of life in this northern town in this period. It transfers from screen to stage effectively and the humour keeps you smiling.
The industrial stage design perfectly turns from steelworks to police station to job club to conservative club (and more) seamlessly and the lighting is effective especially in the final scene when the lads do the full monty! Lots of fun with a top-quality cast and production.
Tickets cost from £17 to £36 (booking fees may apply).
The Full Monty is at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham from 4-9 February 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.trch.co.uk or call the box office on 0115 989 5555.
Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall, Theatre Square, Nottingham, NG1 5ND