The Full Monty

Simon Beaufoy
Sheffield Theatres
Sunderland Empire

The Full Monty started life as a smash hit film, before appearing on stage as a musical with the action transferred to America. Now we are back on familiar territory, with the story once more back on home ground with plenty of laugh out loud moments.

In fact I enjoyed this far more than the film and even found, while reviewing the show on my own, in a packed auditorium laughing out loud, a sign that the show was firing on all cylinders.

While some changes have been made to the story for the stage, it remains very familiar and the set, for a touring play is simply fantastic. Designer Robert Jones presents us with a detailed interior of former steelworks, complete with moving crane.

All the recognisable scenes are there, even if a few have moved location for the play, but from garden gnomes to dancing in the queue they are all there. At one point, the doors open and numerous people march past in the brass band; it is those type of touches that improve a production like this. It could have been a very utilitarian version of the story but it is anything but with director Roger Haines getting the best out of everyone on stage.

Comedy is of course the main focus and there is plenty of that, with Gary Lucy taking control of the action as Gaz. You sympathise with his character as, despite himself, he attempts to maintain contact with his son and has the idea of forming a group of men to strip at the local club to make some money.

Lucy is ably supported by faces familiar from television, such as Andrew Dunn (Dinnerladies), Louis Emerick (Mick from Brookside) and Rupert Hill (Coronation Street).

The whole evening builds towards the final strip and with the audience cheering and clapping the cast do not disappoint. The Full Monty is a fun night out and well worth catching on its tour.

Reviewer: John Dixon