What’s it all about?
Not content with having written one of the most successful British films of the 1990s, Simon Beaufoy has adapted it for the stage.
Set during the 1980s, The Full Monty is the story of six unemployed Sheffield lads who, with little prospect of anything else to do, are convinced whipping their kecks off may be an option.
Except, of course, it’s not actually about stripping, is it? It’s about loss, desperation, self-confidence, body image, masculinity, camaraderie, self-belief and striving to achieve success of any kind when the world as you know it has been ripped apart… And knob jokes.
Who’s in it?
LA-based Brit Kenny Doughty leads the cast as loveable rogue Gaz (the Robert Carlyle role in the film). He has a natural charm that’s hard to resist, but keeps his grievance against life at a healthy simmer just below the surface.
Former Corrie star Craig Gazey as Lomper has a touch of the melancholy sloth about him. His sweet naivety as the loner who finds a family would soften the steeliest of hearts.
But Roger Morlidge almost steals the show as the cracker-devouring, chunky monkey of the sextet, Dave, moving from brutal banter to the deepest of insecurities without missing a beat.
What should I look out for?
The impressively lengthy first half finale, Gaz’s dramatic – if improbable – entrance for the final scene, and any female audience members who get swept up by the emotion of the finale. Don’t, whatever you do, get in their way.
Who was in the press night crowd?
Director Daniel Evans was sitting just along the row from me… which can be awkward when you’re taking notes. Stephanie Cole was sat behind, discussing her latest role in Out of Joint’s NHS-examining This May Hurt A Bit, and Sir Derek Jacobi was among the first on his feet to give a standing ovation. I also spotted Lynda Bellingham, Samantha Spiro and Christopher Biggins, who looked as though he might pinch my seat. He didn’t.
In a nutshell?
A feel-good triumph with a handful of eye-grabbing surprises.
Will I like it?
It’s hard not to. There’s such warmth from the characters and the audience alike that the one thing Gaz and co don’t need to worry about while out of work is paying their heating bills. Even without the now iconic red G-strings and gasp-inducing shin-tickler, this tale of overcoming adversity, rediscovering pride and brotherhood would have effortlessly left me with an impressively large smile.