The Full Monty
As in the 1997 smash hit film, this brand-new production is a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, laughs and heartbreak. Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the film on a major national tour.
There are no heroes in Simon Beaufoy’s heartfelt play, just a group of lads trying to regain their dignity and pride. This fast and funny play is still very much of our time, as again we are hit by a cost-of-living crisis. Gaz and his mates are down on their luck and feel they have been thrown on the scrap heap, but they are determined to fight back and bare a little more than they ever thought they would have to.
Featuring a hot man for everyone! Starring Danny Hatchard (Eastenders, Ridley Road, Our Girl, SCROOGE) as Gaz, Jake Quickenden (Footloose, Hair, X Factor, Dancing on Ice) as Guy and Bill Ward (Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie) as Gerald, with Neil Hurst (Fat Friends the Musical, All Creatures Great and Small, Coronation Street) as Dave, Ben Onwukwe (The Shawshank Redemption, Professor T, Marcella) as Horse and Nicholas Prasad (Around the World in 80 days, The Comedy of Errors, Doctors) as Lomper.
Age guidance 14+
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The Full Monty ON TOUR
Our review on The Full Monty
The Full Monty - Opera House, Manchester - Tuesday 13th February 2024 by Leanne Parker-Tyree
THE FULL MONTY IS A THOROUGHLY CHEERFUL PRODUCTION PACKED FULL OF TRUE NORTHERN HEART AND SOUL
I was SUPER excited for tonight’s treat of a show and raring to see the story of Sheffield’s answer to the Chippendales – ‘Bums of Steel’ - unfold on a Manchester stage before me. I’d struggle, I imagine, to find anyone around who hasn’t seen ‘The Full Monty’, and this production by the original screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours, Everest) directed by Michael Gyngell (Bring It One, Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, Yes, Prime Minister, The Play What I Wrote) comes 27 years since the classic film’s release. No spoilers, but I’ll start right off by saying that if you were a fan of the film (and if you weren’t, what the heck is wrong with you!), you will be delighted to know that all of the moments you associated with the film (you know the ones I mean!) feature in this production and are just as funny, just as good and just as iconic.
The film may be set in Sheffield in the mid-1990s, when the once-successful steel mills have shut down and most of the workers have been made redundant and struggling to find new employment and pay their bills, but so many of the themes are starkly relevant in the landscape of a cost-of-living crisis in 2024. The show begins with Gaz, played by Danny Hatchard (Eastenders, Ridley Road, Our Girl, SCROOGE), a former steel worker who is a bit hard on his luck after losing his job whilst trying to maintain joint custody of his son Nathan and earn enough to pay his child maintenance costs. To this end, Gaz, and his best mate Dave, played by Neil Hurst (Fat Friends the Musical, All Creatures Great and Small, Coronation Street), seeks out scrap metal that they can steal and sell, and somewhat unwisely, Gaz’s 12-year-oldson Nathan, played this evening by Rowan Poulton often winds up joining them. The pairing of Danny and Neil in this production is pure brilliance - they play best friends in such a way that you’d be hard pressed to think they were otherwise, bouncing off each other’s one liners and jokes and displaying a heart-warming and genuine connection throughout the show. Throughout, you feel like you’re watching two best mates having a great time, which is certainly the point, and effortlessly achieved.
Unfortunately for Gaz and Dave, they’re not that good at stealing scrap metal, and are often caught. Their less than salubrious motivations take them to an abandoned Mill, where they encounter Lomper, played by Nicholas Prasad (Around the World in 80 days, The Comedy of Errors, Doctors). What follows is a hilarious exchange between the characters. Underneath the comedy, we find out that Lomper is quite depressed and lonely, and in a sobering moment of realisation and an important nod to the theme of male mental health, he tries to end his life – thanks to the knot Dave has just helped him fashion before going on their merry way! Thankfully, Gaz and Dave realise what’s happening and arrive in the nick of time to prevent Lomper’s suicide attempt and from then on, take it on themselves to look after him and take him under their wing, with genuinely lovely, but equally hilarious results. Prasad is so darn lovable as Lomper, with all his self-depreciation, his innocent naivety and adorable misery – you quickly find yourself becoming his biggest cheerleader.
Bill Ward (Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie) is brilliant as Gerald, former foreman of Gaz and husband to Linda, who has been out of work for six months and though shame, has been hiding his new unemployed status from her. He lives a secret life and pretends he has been going to work every day by dressing in his suit but instead, sitting on a bench or visiting the Job Club. And it’s at a meeting at the Job Club that Gaz shares his brilliant, cunning, fantastic plan to help remedy all their financial difficulties; after seeing hordes of women spilling out of the local club after a ‘Chippendales’ show, he decides they should create their very own striptease group. Brilliant it may be, but there’s just one tiny, little, insignificant problem - they are not really stripper material, either in looks, skill or temperament! Undeterred by this fact, the plan is set in motion and to boost their numbers, they hold auditions which had the audience in tears (laughing, I might add!).
Along the way and with young Nathan as their manager, they recruit Horse, played to perfection by Ben Onwukwe (The Shawshank Redemption, Professor T, Marcella), who impresses with his Funky Chicken moves and unexpected rhythm despite a dodgy hip, and Guy, played by Jake Quickenden (Footloose, Hair, X Factor, Dancing on Ice) who leaves many of the audience members screaming in delight at his ‘big’ reveal of his not-so-hidden talent. The group is complete, and rehearsals begin. Gerald is given the role of choreographer due to his experience in ballroom dancing and after a few false starts it’s all steam ahead.
The path to the performance doesn’t run smooth however, and there are twists and turns ahead. All the characters take knocks to their confidence, reveal secrets about themselves, share their nerves about stripping and showing their bodies to hundreds of women, and struggle, in their own ways, along the path to self-acceptance and belief. Make no mistake, despite being a comedy, the production sensitively touches on serious subjects such as unemployment, fathers' rights, depression, erectile issues, homosexuality, body image, working class culture and suicide in moments which are gentle, heart-warming and thoughtfully characterised.
From the outset, the often laugh-out-loud moments intersperse with fantastically delivered dry humour. Throw in some 90s beats and the constantly, cleverly moving, and dynamic scenery, this production really is fantastic fun. Additional mentions really must go to the set and costume design, by Jasmine Swan, lighting design by Andrew Exeter and sound design by Chris Whybrow, all of which add to the overall quality and feel of the production. It really is the perfect recipe for a fantastically entertaining evening.
The Full Monty is a thoroughly cheerful production and it is impossible to come away from without a smile and packed full of true Northern heart and soul. As to ‘that’ final moment – well, you’ll have to watch and wait to see whether the guys leave their hats on or not, but I’d highly recommend you find out in person!
WE SCORE THE FULL MONTY...
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