The Full Monty, Tuesday 22rd November, Wales Millennium Centre. Reviewer: Hannah Stait
Sparks were flying in the Wales Millennium Centre this week as thousands flocked to see a bunch of incredibly talented actors get their kit off in homage to the BAFTA winning 1997 classic film The Full Monty! Winner of the UK Theatre Award for Best Touring Production, this show was nothing short of belly achingly hilarious from start to finish and fans of the film would not leave feeling anything but satisfied! (In the nostalgic sense, cheeky!)
The tale of six out of work Sheffield steelworkers deciding to bare all for a bit of extra cash manages to tug at your heart-strings while still giving a giggle a minute, dealing with serious issues like unemployment, depression, body image, homosexuality and suicide. Although this seems a show about middle aged male strippers, the focal point of the show was the battle of central character Gaz to get joint custody of his son Nathan, which tugged at the heart of the audience who grew to root for the father and son duo. Gary Lucy shined as Gaz and managed to give stellar comedic timing, seeming comfortable on the stage whilst giving each line and movement precision – making his whole performance feel polished and effortless.
Lucy is supported by an incredible cast,. Kai Owens playing Dave received lots of laughs throughout his performance and warmed the hearts of thousands with his on stage chemistry with Fiona Skinner who portrayed Dave’s wife, Jean, with emotional depth and moments of effortless hilarity. Completing the group is Anthony Lewis as Lomper who managed to create classic moments of comedy within some of the most emotional scenes of the show and had some of the best lines throughout, staying perfectly in character both with his facial expressions and body language. Joining him was the character of Guy, portrayed by Chris Fountain who excelled himself in his opening scene certainly showing off his… er, full package of talents! He continued to brilliantly portray the role and seemed very and home on the stage. The chemistry between the two was brilliant and did just enough to make you root heavily for the romantic chemistry that the characters shared.
The group would not be complete if not for the additions of Gerald and Horse, portrayed by Andrew Dunn and Louis Emerick and the two add the seamless natural characterisations that the production needs to give it an extra something. Particularly Dunn’s portrayal of frustration and desperation will surely be enough to emit tears of empathy from all.
The character of Gaz’s son Nathan has been played by four incredibly talented young actors – James Burton, Monty Poole, Reiss Ward and Felix Yates. The boys portrayal of a young boy torn between his parents to the heart-warming comedy of being the manager of his dad’s stripping troupe means that he is loved by characters and audience alike. This portrayal deserves a hefty praise as being surrounded by such a star studded cast but completely steals the show with an innocent yet wise beyond his years conviction that is definitely worthy of being named an outstanding performance. Definitely a performance to be proud of!
The well-loved and recognised soundtrack was enough to get the audience going but who doesn’t love a bit of ‘Hot Stuff’ in an evening? And the set was well utilised to create several incredible atmospheres that made many of us feel we were involved with the story! The audience were with the show every step of the way with many shout-outs and catcalls throughout the evening but if there was ever a show where that was appropriate it would be this one! The highlight of the show was the well awaited strip show in which Tom Jones silky voice boomed through the theatre as ‘You can leave your hat on’ played as the actors turned the show to the audience, breaking the fourth wall and encouraging us to feel like a bunch of naughty people in a 90’s working man’s club in Sheffield just waiting for a chance to see the Full Monty.. literally!
The truth of the matter is, everyone including the cast were having a great time and if you need a laugh then this is definitely the show for you!
The Full Monty is at the Wales Millennium Centre until the 26th November 2016 and will continue to tour the UK until April 2017.
by Hannah Stait