When it was announced The Full Monty was to become a theatrical production those who had seen the blockbuster movie must have been thinking one thing – During the last scene will the cast members go completely nude in front of the audience each night?
The play opens with Dave, Gaz and his son, Nathan breaking into an abandoned mill to steal a chunk of scrap metal although their petty crime is disrupted by Gaz’s ex-wife Mandy turning up with her new husband. The broken couple are facing a further relationship turmoil as Gaz is finding it difficult to fund child support payments, if he can’t raise £600 the unemployed father could face losing touch with his son.
In the first act the scene is set to what promises to be an impressive transformation from film to stage, the set represents one you’d be happy to pay to see in London, although on the basis the show is heading to the West End after this UK tour one would expect such high standards.
So, Gaz needs a few hundred quid, Dave is also out of work and both men find themselves outside a club where the Chippendales are performing, oh and the show is called The Full Monty – no prizes for guessing what plan comes into their heads!
Unzipping away from the already familiar plot again allow us to concentrate on the ‘dressing up’ once again as we focus on the scenery. Set changes throughout the two hour performance are swift yet effective, when necessary eighties classics are played to keep the audience entertained as well as reminding us we are in Thatcher years, even the crane in the mill is named after the Iron Lady – although this piece of rusty equipment is still working quite well!
A couple of middle-aged blokes happy to whip their kit off for a few extra bob won’t pull in the crowds, more lads need to sign up so when security guard Lomper investigates the commotion inside the mill he’s the talked into joining the line-up. Although his introduction only comes after his suicide attempt is interrupted by Gaz who finds the depressed man trying to hang himself. (We later discover Lomper is coming to terms with his sexuality.)
After a feeble first rehearsal to the sounds of the infamous Hot Chocolate soundtrack the lads gatecrash their local Conservative Club where they meet up with their buddy Gerald. Their friend isn’t too pleased with their uninvited reunion, especially as his wife Linda believes her husband has a job, instead unemployed Gerald has been ‘bumming’ (Yep, that was an intentional pun) around the local park for the past few months.
Fortunately for Gerald he has a job interview the next day, unluckily for Gerald his friends take sheer delight fooling around outside shoving garden gnomes up to the window. Both scenes are cleverly presented on stage and the story rarely detours from the movie, speaking of which the memorable part where the lads start practising for their show whilst lined-up in a dole queue is presented in all its full glory later on in the plot.
Gerald may have a job, although he is roped into a one-night career by becoming a male stripper although he has one stipulation...the lads must hold open auditions to find two more guys.
The following scene is hilarious as we take front row seats to see those who have no chance displaying their crown jewels to a packed audience to Horse and Guy, the two successful candidates. Stripping away popular myths Horse, a black guy, bags the role because he can dance – Guy, a white guy passes because...Well, lets’ just say his cast name should had been ‘Horse’! The bare cheek auditions take us into the interview.
Taking our seats in the stalls for the second half (shame it wasn’t the ‘Dress’ circle – we could had added yet another take on words) we catch the lads taking tips watching Flashdance. With further skills added to their bow thanks to Jennifer Beals, the guys assemble for another rehearsal overlooked by Gerald, who has now landed the chirographer role which sees the lads ending up in just their underwear.
A spanner is thrown into the steel works when club owner Alan requests upfront payment for the use of his venue, although this matter is resolved all too quickly in the play and is the storyline is quickly lost. Another derailment which the lads have to conquer is Dave walking out a week prior to their performance, although as you can probably guess he is reunited with the group before the evening arrives. They say bad luck comes in threes and sure enough the trilogy of barriers continue when another rehearsal back in the mill is brought to a sudden halt when the guys face a narrow escape from being prosecuted.
Staying on the unfortunate track for just a while longer Barry has some explaining to do when his misses discovers a cod-piece in the bedroom – don’t you just hate it when that happens?
It’s Gaz’s turn to be upset next, he’s hasn’t turned up at the club and when we are exposed to the guys backstage hearing their three minute warning to show-time the production merits shine once again as we see Nathan successfully encouraging his father to take to the stage.
The lads take to the stage for the final act...
When it was announced The Full Monty was to become a theatrical production those who had seen the blockbuster movie must have been thinking one thing – During the last scene will the cast members go completely nude in front of the audience each night?...Well, you’ll have to book your tickets to find out.
The Full Monty Tour Dates. (Before moving to the London’s West End)...
Now – 27 April – Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
29 May – 4 May – Cliffs Pavilion, Southend-On-Sea
6 May – 18 May – Grand Theatre & Opera House, Leeds
Please contact the venue directly for accessibility information.
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