Reviewed by Gemma Ingham
The beauty of the story of The Full Monty, written by Simon Beaufoy, is that it shows ordinary working class Northern folk taking control of their spiraling lives and doing something extraordinary. At the time of The Full Monty film being released, it was not perceived as ‘just’ a film about some men who needed a job and decided to be strippers; it showed the plight of the people of Sheffield and surrounding areas since the economy had taken a nosedive in the Thatcher era. If you care to take a peek under the surface of the story you also come face to face with the issues of homosexuality, equality and depression.
I am from Barnsley, a town surrounding Sheffield, and everything relating to the characters lack of employment, money and hope ring true to my experiences so I couldn’t wait to see the story on stage at Sheffield Lyceum. The theatre is central in Sheffield, close to all major transport links with plenty of car parking nearby.
Gary Lucy (who I remember having a huge crush on when he starred in Hollyoaks) plays the likeable down-and-out Gaz, desperate to make money to pay off his child maintenance arrears in order to keep his relationship with his son Nathan (Fraser Kelly). Kai Owen plays his best mate and serial dieter, Dave, who is struggling with the stigma of being at home whilst his wife brings the money in. Andrew Dunn plays Gerald who is frantically trying to keep his ‘posh’ standard of living despite having no income and lying to his wife. Joe Gill is Lomper, a depressed and strangely likeable oddball who throughout the story seems to find himself. Louis Emerick (I remember him as Mick from Brookside) plays a hilarious Horse, and James Redmond (yet another Hollyoaks crush of mine) plays Guy, a proudly gay character with a very, very impressive appendage.
Every single character and actor brings something different to the story and together they are absolutely fantastic. They play against each other well and seem to have such camaraderie. The adlibbing between them when something went a teeny bit wrong on stage was hilarious.
The set seemed to be an exact copy of many an old factory or building works you can see driving down most industrial streets in Sheffield, down to the dirty small windows and rusted staircases.
As for the actual show – there was of course the scenes you would expect to be included from the film, and even though I was anticipating them they still had me screaming with laughter – I don’t think my cheeks have ached so much from laughing at a performance before. There were definitely a few bits I wasn’t anticipating too!
The beauty of The Full Monty is that these men are normal with normal body shapes – thin, chubby, muscled, tanned, pale, and skinny. And in this day and age of equality and body positivity the performance is a refreshing change. And major kudos to the actors for getting up there and baring it all. The audience participation was great and I’m absolutely gutted I didn’t get to catch any of the clothing they threw off!
One question I’ve been asked is do they actually go The Full Monty? You’ll have to book tickets and see won’t you…
Tickets cost from £24 (booking fees may apply).
The Full Monty is at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield from 7-18 May 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or call the box office on 0114 249 6000.
Lyceum Theatre, Norfolk St, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1 1DA | 0114 249 6000