Review: The Full Monty

Review: The Full Monty

Well, we got the full monty. And the show that transforms theatres into a pub strip night lived up to its billing at The Grand Opera House last night. But Simon Beaufoy’s drama, adapted from the 1997 film The Full Monty about a group of unemployed steel workers in Sheffield, mines comedy from some pretty dark material. There are even gags about a guy’s suicide options, but that’s after two of our heroes have rescued him from his fate. The Northern sense of humour, not dissimilar to the counterpart here, worked well although the production’s opening was a little slow.

We met Gaz (superb Danny Hatchard), a jack the lad with son whose maintenance payments are behind and who needs cash fast. He and his best mate Dave (excellent Neil Hurst), fat and a good sidekick but depressed, do their best to fill the gap. They attempt to nick girders worth £40 from their old workplace, magnificently conjured up in a clever, industrial set. They also attend the Job Centre with other ex colleagues, including Gerald (a nice performance from Bill Ward ) their old foreman. He’s a Tory, teaches dancing and can’t bear to let his demanding wife Lindy know he’s lost his job. There are other men on the dole dust heap, case studies but so well fleshed out you don’t notice the range of issues. The older guy Horse (Ben Onwukwe) got a round of applause for his funky chicken dance.

Authenticity, and a certain broadness, is key. The Chippendales are in town entertaining the wives and girlfriends and an idea forms. But you probably know the plot. This account of the way the group comes together was convincing and moving as well as sexy. There are inevitable setbacks and Gaz’s son has to empty his piggy bank. But things start to come together. As Gaz later tells the sceptical pub owner, It’s us. And it is, with their vulnerability and his idea, the usp of baring all.

Reverse objectification is all over the place as women not men eye up the goods. At the end of the first act there was a moment when gay Guy (engaging Jake Quickenden) shows his credentials to join the troupe. He bared his bum rather than his soul but later on, with newly discovered fellow gay dancer Lomper (Nicholas Prasad), there’s a touching revelation. He hasn’t had loads of partners, as you might expect, and lost his real love to Aids.  

Much loved scenes from the movie, including the foot tapping and hip wriggling line up signing on, were well done and directed by Michael Gyngell. The music is the perfect 80s soundtrack, Human League and of course, Hot Chocolate. Gerald was told not to get over excited by thinking of something boring such as a Dire Straits double album.

At the finale, we applauded the characters’ kit, and their various kinds of bravery.

Jane Hardy

The Full Monty runs at the GOH ( until Saturday January 27.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.