Reviewed by Joanne Hughes
A show full of cheek – and jolly good cheek it is!
The stage musical of the iconic British comedy film, The Full Monty, is back on tour and is currently on show at the Theatre Royal in Brighton.
First written, then adapted for stage, by the acclaimed Simon Beaufoy, the story is based in Sheffield twenty-five years after the steel industry boom, the steel plant is now closed, and a group of six men are on the unemployment heap, struggling to stay out of debt. The lead character Gaz, exceptionally acted by the well-known Gary Lucy, is desperately trying, by any means possible, to get the cash needed to pay his maintenance debts before he loses access to seeing his young son Nathan. So when he is refused entry to the working men’s club one night, due to it being packed full of raucous women watching male strippers, he realises there’s easy money to be made in stripping. He then, together with his best mate Dave (Kai Owen), embarks on forming a troupe of local men to create their own strip show. But this show is promising to go one better than other male strippers by doing the ‘full monty’ – stripping all the way.
The all-star cast give an outstanding performance that has the audience in stitches from the opening scene. Even the rude and crude moments (particularly the ‘wee’ moment) are executed in such comedic style as to make everyone laugh-out-loud. Though it is not just the comedy that they perform so impressively, but also the social issues that are intertwined into the play. The relationship struggles between Gary Lucy and Fraser Kelly, father and son, is beautifully portrayed, and Kai Owen delivers a touching act of the inner Dave, wrestling with his self-image which is affecting his marriage. Similarly, we are drawn into the character of Gerald (expertly played by Andrew Dunn), the stuffy ex-foreman who is recruited to the troupe to teach them to dance. Fearing his wife will leave him if he can’t provide for her, he keeps his redundancy a secret. The interview scene in which his hopes are dashed due to Gaz, Dave and a few cherished garden gnomes is both hilarious and crushing.
Joe Gill creates an impressive character in Lomper, the depressed security guard who attempts suicide, then finds confidence and friendship through the group. The added scene (not featured in the film) in which he and guy (James Redmond) discuss their homosexuality is delicately played.
Louis Emerick’s charismatic portrayal of the arthritic-hipped, ironically named, horse exudes his experience of stage acting. The female cast add substitute to the plight of this group of men and are deserving of all the praise they receive.
This show is packed full of entertainment, from cheesy punchlines, witty gags, and laugh-out-loud moments, to touching and sensitive scenes. For those who have watched the film, all the classic moments are present: Dave and the clingfilm, the dress-rehearsal, the post office queue and… I won’t give the game away but watch for the end of act one – you’ll be falling of your seat with laughter!
Currently on show at the Theatre Royal in Brighton, it’s a ‘chuffing brilliant’ night out.
The Theatre Royal is a gem, located in the centre of Brighton with lots of parking and eateries nearby. The regency style inside is stunning, and its auditorium adds that touch of intimacy with the cast, not found in modern theatres.
So grab your friends and head out for a fantastic evening of entertainment; and in answer to the question on everyone’s lips, “do they do the ‘full monty’?”, my answer is that you’ll leave grinning from ear to ear all the way home!
Tickets cost from £13 to £39.90 (plus £3.65 transaction fee).
The Full Monty is at the Theatre Royal in Brighton from 21-26 January 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/brighton or call the box office on 0844 871 7650.
Theatre Royal, New Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1SD | 0844 871 7650