“They might not be young, they might not be pretty, they might not be right good, but tonight they are here, they are live and going to do The Full Monty”.
Joining what is now a long list of movies turned into stage productions, The Full Monty brings its ‘hot stuff’ to the theatre with the film’s original screenplay writer and Oscar winner Simon Beaufoy at the helm.
After a short stint in the West End and a previous tour this latest new version of The Full Monty has just taken to the road, directed by Roger Haines and makes a short stop at Manchester’s Opera House.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 20 years since the 1997 film graced the silver screen putting Sheffield on the map, Tom Jones in the charts again and making a star out of Robert Carlyle and Mark Addy. At the time the simple story captured the hearts of millions; two best mates and former steelworkers rally together a group of working class guys to start a strip act to earn some cash and form some deep friendships along the way.
Former Hollyoaks and Footballers Wives star Gary Lucy takes on the lead role of Gaz the doting dad struggling to come to terms with being split from his wife and made redundant from the steel factory where he has worked all his life. Whilst Lucy wouldn’t be my first choice to carry a show there are some touching father-son moments from him that cement the casting decision and, of course, there’s his trim torso on display on numerous occasions which saw excitement levels rise to fever pitch.
There’s very little made in the way of changes in the transfer from screen to stage, which in parts is detriment to the production. The opening scenes have a really slow pace, which you don’t seem to notice as much when it’s onscreen as there is more to look at. You have to stick with it till the end of the first half when the stripper auditions take place and the action really starts, introducing another couple of former soap stars Louis Emerick (Brookside’s Mick) as Horse, and Rupert Hill (Corrie’s Jamie) as Guy.
Some of the best scenes though were dominated by a relatively unknown, Bobby Schofield who played shy and retiring Lomper. Schofield puts in a sensitive performance that balances the humorous and sometime darker moments the character has on stage.
Highlights of the production include the iconic scene where the characters start gyrating to Donna Summer in the job centre and the infamous Fully Monty finale. The female dominated audience have their hormone levels shoot through the roof as you reach the show’s climax and the squeals from the audience can be heard well above Leave Your Hat On blasting out of the speakers.
Plus there was a treat in store for those in the audience on press night as a malfunction with the lighting meant they did get to witness the ‘full monty’ with eye popping results for those sat in the front few rows.
I’m assured that the problem has been fixed pretty quickly for the rest of the run but I’m sure that won’t stop theatregoers from still leaving with a smile on their faces.
The Full Monty 2014
Opera House Manchester
Thursday 11 to Saturday 20 September