The Full Monty was a title that of course I had heard of, yet I had never actually seen the film myself. When I heard that it had been turned into a stage show by Simon Beaufoy and was touring the UK, I was eager to see it, and I am so glad that I did. Full of hysterical comedic moments and also poignant parts, I thought that it was a fantastic way to spend my Monday evening! Seeing it with my American friend also highlighted the very British, and specifically Yorkshire humour in this play that manages to weave in cultural references of the time in a completely natural way, making them almost unnoticeable.
Aside from the actual performance and script of the show, I was really struck by the set and lighting design of the show by designer Robert Jones and lighting designer Tim Lutkin. There is one set throughout the show which is of an abandoned steel mill and throughout the show it transforms into various places using either specific parts of the set, lighting on one area or neon signs that signify location and this combines with the props so it is always clear where they are even though the main set doesn’t change. The lighting design impeccably accompanied this set and although lighting isn’t often something that is fully appreciated in a show, we both thought that the lighting design was incredible and was executed with impeccable timing that really matched the onstage action. This simple yet highly effective set also allowed for fluid scene changes that happened quickly and smoothly so they didn’t interrupt the face paced storyline.
Anyone who has seen the film will, of course, know the story and I knew the premise when I went into the theatre but, as I hadn’t seen the film, I wasn’t entirely sure. Essentially the story revolves around 6 unemployed men from Yorkshire who, after seeing their wives go crazy for a group of touring Chippendales, have the great idea to form their own stripping troupe to make some easy money. Underneath the play’s humorous side, it does feature some serious issues such as suicide, gender equality, mental illness and homophobia. One of the main themes is male insecurity which is shown in a number of ways in all the men throughout the play but is highlighted through Gaz’s insecurities about his ability to provide for his son which resulted in some beautifully poignant scenes amongst the comedy between Nathan and Gaz.
All of the actors were impeccable but one who really stood out to me was Anthony Lewis, playing Lomper whose sincerity in the role and perfect comic timing made his jokes hilarious throughout the play. Reiss Ward who played Nathan in this show was also a star. He was very natural on stage and had the perfect balance between sweet and cheeky as he encourages his dad throughout the play. Gary Lucy reprises the role of Gaz, Nathan’s dad from the West End run in 2013 and it is clear that he is confident in this role as his performance is polished and natural with each line and movement delivered with precise timing. Andrew Dunn plays Gerald, a man who is trying to hide his unemployment from his wife, and, although reluctant at points he becomes to be a member of the troupe, getting a lot of laughs from the audience. Kai Owen as Dave also was a great comedic role from start to finish with some great jokes throughout and we also see the beautiful relationship between Dave and his wife Jean, played by Fiona Skinner. Last (but by no means least) we have Louis Emerick and Chris Fountain who played Horse and Guy, they may have been late to join the troupe (not until the end of act one) but that definitely doesn’t mean they didn’t make an impression when they arrived! Emerick made the audience love him through his strip routine with an arthritic hip and the audience loved that Fountain ended the first act by ‘showing the other guys what he’d got!’
Overall I loved it. It was a great piece that was well written, funny with heartfelt moments to go with it.
Guest Reviewer: Katy Galloway
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