The Full Monty at Opera House Manchester: Review

It’s an awkward mix of the original script and the touring version of The Dreamboys. If you’re a fan of the film and wouldn’t mind a slightly garish version of what was, then this could be for you.

By Manchester's Finest | November 4th '16

It’s an awkward mix of the original script and the touring version of The Dreamboys.
If you’re a fan of the film and wouldn’t mind a slightly garish version of what was, then this could be for you.

The stage adaptation was written by Simon Beaufoy, the same man who penned the screenplay. It may have come from the same hand, but somehow there’s something slightly ‘panto’ about it all.

Set in Sheffield in the time where individuals were suffering the tragic effects of economic change due to Thatcherism – (better known as our own bouffant version of Voldemort), The Full Monty follows the story of a group of men as they fight for survival in an era that was unforgiving to the ‘working class’.

Beaufoy describes the moment he first heard the phrase ‘feel good’ attached to the film The Full Monty

‘Who would have thought a film in which there is impotence, unemployment, despair and suicide attempts would be described as ‘feel good’? It was intended to have the humour of the place I grew up in and the spirit of the people of Sheffield – that very Northern humour whereby the worse things get, the better the jokes.’

This adaptation was definitely ‘feel good’, not the film version of ‘feel good’ when one of the characters might’ve cracked a joke through a worn, tear sodden face but the kind of ‘feel good’ where there’s a break in exchange to fit in a moment for an audience to applaud and laugh loudly.

It probably doesn’t help that the original cast were the most unlikely group of men to choose to strip, whereas this cast is packed full with well-known faces and names and they’re all pretty young and good looking.

Don’t get me wrong, I find Robert Carlyle massively attractive – the lovely little bugger he is, but this cast was packed full of shiny soap stars.

Their appearance seemed to change the original intent of the script. I’m pretty sure the audience weren’t filled with fear at the idea of Gary Lucy or Chris Fountain stripping – it actually seemed to be eagerly anticipated.

The two standout performances of the night were from Anthony Lewis who plays Lomper and Andrew Dunn as Gerald. Dunn gave you the ‘Thank God he’s in the cast’ feeling especially next to Lucy’s uneven attempts at a northern accent.

I understand that certain names get the tickets sold and seats filled but I wouldn’t mind seeing a version of this iconic British film with the appropriate actors.