Reviewed by Amanda Gazzard
Once in a while along comes a production that you think WOW what a brilliant show…….
I loved the original film and was keen to see how well Simon Beaufoy could adapt such an iconic movie for the stage.
The scene is set it’s the 90’s and we were introduced to a group of laid-off steel workers each with their own problems who are barely scraping by trying to make a few quid here and there whilst a major recession is going on. Hard times lead to desperate measures and with The Chippendales performing in the local social club this gives Gaz (Gary Lucy) the brainwave to put together their own show but with a difference. Bums of Steel, as they call themselves, not only strip but they go all the way!!!
Gaz is trying to make some money so he can keep seeing his son Nathan (Fraser Kelly). Their relationship at times is strained but you can clearly see they have a special bond. Gaz’s best friend Dave (Kai Owen) was brilliantly funny and so much like the original character from the film, it was uncanny at times. Lomper (Joe Gill) was portrayed very differently from the film and I did find his opening scene of him trying to hang himself a little distasteful. There were a few gasps around me I must admit but maybe in some ways this was the reaction they went for, as the eventual outcome had a happy ending. Without spoiling anything Guy (James Redmond) is very funny and his audition was jaw dropping! Horse (Louis Emerick) clearly has the moves and portrays his character brilliantly. Gerald (Andrew Dunn) is teased by the lads and tormented by his wife as she does not know he has been out of work for the last six months and has been happily spending money.
Some of the scenes were similar to the film including the famous Hot Stuff dance while they were queuing at the Job Centre, which I am glad they kept in as the timing and acting were top class.
There were only two points that slightly let it down for me. Firstly, were the accents. In the opening scenes I really struggled to follow the conversations due to their accents, especially Gary Lucy. It felt they were all over compensating trying to speak in a Yorkshire accent when it clearly was not their natural tongue. I felt the rest of the audience may have felt the same as the audience’s reactions were not really there in the very beginning. My second point was the staging. I do understand when you’re portraying a production which has already been made into a film the expectations are already there. The backdrop to the stage was of the inside of a steel works which was very good and detailed, nevertheless this never moved/changed throughout the whole production and the various scenes which were not at the steel works were always set in front of the backdrop or even at times incorporated into the scene which for me was a little off-putting. I felt if you had not seen the film it could have been hard to follow the flow of the story as some scene sets were not overly convincing.
This production was loaded with humour all the way through and is a must see. It’s a great night out for the ladies (wink wink) and you will not be left disappointed.
All the staff at The Cliffs Pavilion was helpful and polite. We were guided to our row with ease and a smile and served out drinks swiftly and politely, Very impressed.
I would rate this performance a well-deserved 4 out of 5.
Tickets cost from £27 to £50 (booking fees may apply).
The Full Monty is at the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend from 1-6 April 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit southendtheatres.org.uk or call the box office on 01702 351135.
Cliffs Pavilion, Station Road, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS0 7RA | 01702 351135