The Full Monty
“boy they do go the full monty”
The Full Monty is an iconic British film, following the story of 6 out-of-work steelworkers from Sheffield. With similar themes to that of Billy Elliot, The Full Monty cleverly deals with sensitive topics such as class, unemployment, homosexuality, as well as body image and suicide. But rest assured, The Full Monty is not a depressing show and instead brings so much humour that you’ll be belly-laughing. It’s cleverly done to bring both elements that have some hard-hitting truths as well as genuinely funny moments.
Of course, most people know that in the story of The Full Monty, 6 male friends decide to put on a stripping show, inspired by a previous group called the Chippendales, thinking they can make a lot of money from it. Leading character Gaz needs the money to not lose custody of his son, and the other 5 follow suit.
Gary Lucy leads a star-cast of television actors in the role of Gaz, with Kai Owen playing best mate and slightly on the chubby side Dave. Their relationship is enjoyable to watch and their chemistry is clearly as close off-stage as it is on stage. Gary Lucy gives a good performance but did not blow me away. The show is instead carried by Kai Owen whose comedic timing is second-to-none and his acting ability, in general, is profound.
Andrew Dunn, Louis Emerick, James Redmond, and Joe Gill play Gerald, Horse, Guy and Lomper respectively, and all give good performances that make the show the enjoyable one it was.
Although I had not seen the film, I was told that scenes from the show were direct replicas, such as the job queue dance, the cling film and much more. If you’re a fan of the film, you will love The Full Monty on stage as not only was it written and adapted for the stage by the director of the film, it also doesn’t lose the integrity of the original that people love so much.
It takes about 10 minutes to get used to the accents and for Gary Lucy’s voice to not be so husky. The show did take a while to get going as Act One sees the group get together and gives us some slight back story to each character, without really going into depth. It gets slightly dry at times because the audience already knows the what that final scene is going to be. I would have preferred it if they had established the group within half an hour and more of the show was focused on the rehearsals, which truly is the funniest bit of the show.
Act Two is where the show picks up and makes it worth staying for. By Act Two the audience is more invested and eager to see “the full monty” that they came for. And boy they do go the full monty, let me tell you.
I wasn’t expecting to get as involved in “that final scene” as I did, but as the humour in the show and the atmosphere and anticipation in the auditorium picked up, I found myself laughing out loud and cheering along with the rest of the audience. The cheers from the audience during the final strip scene were unlike anything I had ever heard from a theatre audience before, which made the whole experience that bit more enjoyable.
I wouldn’t pin this as my favourite show, but if you fancy a girls’ night out for a bit of fun, The Full Monty is a show to look for.
The Full Monty is playing at Wales Millennium Centre until Saturday 16th March and is on tour of the UK until May 2019.