The Full Monty – Gaiety Theatre – Review by Fran Winston
Runs until October 6th at 7.30pm nightly. Matinees at 2.30pm Wednesday 3rd October and Saturday 6th.
Irish tour continues in INEC Gleneagle Hotel October 9th – 13th.
This is billed as the last ever tour of the stage show based on the hugely successful movie of the same name. In case you’ve been living under a rock, it tells the story of a group of unemployed steel workers from Sheffield who, after realising the popularity of The Chippendales, decide to set up a strip troupe in order to make some money to pay off their various debts.
The movie may now be 21 years old but it remains a feelgood classic thanks in no small part to an amazing soundtrack and for the stage adaptation they have somehow managed to secure the rights to a wealth of classic songs from the flick including Flashdance by Irene Cara, Hot Chocolate’s You Sexy Thing, Donna Summer’s Hot Stuff and Leave Your Hat On by the one and only Sir Tom Jones (who knows more than a thing or two himself about whipping women into a frenzy). The songs do serve to create a fantastic feel good atmosphere which could easily have been at the expense of the story. However, writer Simon Beaufoy has ensured that the ethos of the film remains intact and this is incredibly faithful to his original source material.
This production features a fantastic ensemble cast including Gary Lucy in the role of as Gaz (originated by Robert Carlyle in the film), along with Andrew Dunn (aka Tony in Dinnerladies) as Gerald, Liz McDonald’s recent Corrie squeeze Louis Emerick as Horse, Emmerdale’s Joe Gill as Lomper, Kai Owen of Torchwood and Hollyoaks fame as Dave and former Hollyoaks and Casualty star James Redmond as the legendary lunchbox played by Hugo Speer in the movie. Much like the characters, who are all at different places in their lives and coming from different circumstances, all of the actors, despite being very diffrerent, really seem to gel and have great fun in their roles. The accents were a bit hit and miss on the night I attended but on the whole they managed to make their parts their own without imitating their big screen counterparts.
However, this is really all about the big finale which does indeed see all six go “the full Monty”. I think they could have recited the phone book for the other 100 minutes as the the audience anticipated the striptease. This is definitely the kind of show that likes to tease and play with its audience and one person behind me was especially excited if the noises emanating from them were anything to go by.
But at its core this is a play with a lot of heart. The characters are all facing impossible dilemmas and find themselves in situations not necessarily of their own making and they are just trying to get by the best they can. They are all quite likeable and you do find yourself rooting for them and their have a go attitude.
Yes, you will see the actors bare their flesh and you will laugh yourself silly at the innuendo and naughtiness but beyond that you will realise that you actually had a bloody good time at this. It’s not high art by any means but it is extremely entertaining.