There’s nothing missing in Simon Beaufoy’s stage adaptation of The Full Monty – except the odd pair of trousers, naturally. A strong cast, believable characters and rolling in the aisles comedy, all in all it’s a chuffin’ brilliant night at the theatre.
When a group of unemployed steelworkers find out just how much The Chippendales make with one show, they decide that getting in the altogether might just be worth it. The band of unlikely dancers gets ready for the performance of a lifetime, all while facing their own struggles and battling with unemployment.
There isn’t one weak link in the cast, so no dressing down to be done here. Anthony Lewis is particularly strong as Lomper, making us care about his depressive state and tugging on our heart strings as he discovers more about himself. Gary Lucy as Gaz leads the ensemble with infectious energy, while Kai Owen as Dave can take credit for a lot of the side-splitting comic timing. Felix Yates plays a feisty Nathan, giving a very strong performance for such a young actor.
The funniest moments come from the dance rehearsals, in particular that famous Post Office queue scene. As each character grapples with the basics of becoming a male stripper, the audience laughs and cheers harder.
There is definitely nudity in this show, but it isn’t quite as full-frontal as I’d feared. The final scene is hilarious, clever, and the best moment of the show. As the theatre auditorium becomes the audience for the steelworkers’ dance show, there’s a lot of clapping along and a few rowdy punters heckle from the front row. As trousers, shirts and hats fail to stay on, the final reveal is a moment of stage lighting genius that leaves everything to the imagination (much to my relief, and the disappointment of the very animated lady in the left side of the stalls).
It’s the funniest show I’ve seen in a long while, and that’s the bare naked truth.
Words by Katie Dancey