Words by Max Modell
You’ve gotta make a livin’ somehow, so you may as well make it takin’ your kit off, it seems to be working for the cast of The Full Monty.
Based on the Oscar-winning (yes, you read that right) feel-good classic, you know what you’re going to get, a good old cheeky bit of fun. But, in fact The Fully Monty offers so much more. Following six out-of-work steelworks in the 70s, who hatch an innovative plan to earn some cash, the stage adaptation is an absolute riot, featuring bums, bellies and a banging soundtrack, including Tom Jones, James Brown and Hot Chocolate.
While the show is full of laughs, The Full Monty has dramatic root, with the humour feeling organic, being used as a form of coded emotional communicated by the guarded characters, distinct to the Northern setting and time period. This humour was translated for stage by the original screenwriter, Simon Beaufoy. While it is his first fore into writing for the stage, you can’t tell, with the play delicately balancing the personal narratives, against the post-industrial setting, tackling the serious subjects of unemployment, body image, homosexuality, father’s rights and depression, while staying focused, upbeat and funny.
The soap heavy cast were all very likeable and endearing, drawing you into their characters. While the Northern accents can be hard to decipher at first, you soon get used to them and lost in the world of the story. A large reason for this is Gary Lucy, as Gaz, the leader of the group, and heart of the story. While his presence alone seemed to delight the female members of the crowd, it was his perform and swaggering cheeky chap persona which won over the rest of the room. Played off his chubby, likeable best mate Dave, played by Kai Owen and the Conservative, ballroom dancing, former-foreman Gerald, played by Andrew Dunn, the show had a winning comedy formula, and didn’t waste this potential. The banter was sharp, the physical comedy tight and the dance scenes led to full on belly laughter.
While that’s all great, I know that’s not where your head’s at. And the answer to the question burning on all your lips, “So did they then? You know, did they go The Fully Monty?” I guess you’ll just have to go see for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.