The Full Monty - Theatre ☆☆☆☆4
Showing from - Monday, October 12, 2015 through till Saturday, October 17, 2015
Hull New Theatre - Kingston-upon-Hull
Jackie Foottit | Tuesday, October 13, 2015
There they stood, six men in their undies.
The good-looking, trim, but down-on-his-luck Gaz (Gary Lucy); Horse (Louis Emerick), arthritic-ridden and wearer of long johns; fat, depressed Dave (Martin Miller); the snobby and ageing Gerald (Andrew Dunn); suicidal and unknowingly gay, young Lomper (Bobby Schofield), and Guy (Rupert Hill), very well-endowed, gay and definitely knowing it. All ordinary working-class men hoping to make a fast buck by baring all on stage for one night only.
This gritty northern comedy, set in Sheffield, follows the struggles of the hapless men as they come to terms with losing their jobs, their self-respect and, in one case – you know who you are, Lomper - nearly his life, in a suicide attempt.
Gaz – behind in maintenance payments for his son, Nathan (fantastic performance by young Fraser Kelly) A lucky few in the audience caught the strippers’ clothes at the end– comes up with the stripping idea and has to convince the others that that’s where their fortunes lie.
Gaz and Dave, who are making ends meet by stealing girders from their former workplace, enlist factory security man Lomper as their first stripper. Saved from certain death by the two petty thieves as he tried to hang himself, he gladly agrees to join.
Ex-steel works foreman Gerald was the next recruit, but it was the auditions for the final two that brought the house down.Tall, well-built Horse hobbled in using a walking stick, but when Donna Summer’s disco hit 'Hot Stuff' came on he really strutted his stuff – gangnam style, shaking his bootie, the works – to the delight of the mainly female audience.
And the first-half curtain fell on the sixth stripper, the muscular Guy, who admitted he couldn’t sing or dance but, baring his backside to the audience, revealed his credentials to the gawping men. He was in!
Rehearsals were a hoot, but as tensions - and bad language - grew, it was up to Gaz to coerce his fellow strippers into doing the full Monty – taking everything off. The sell-out crowd at Hull New Theatre soon discovered if they agreed.
What I took away from this fantastic show was not the stripping (fun that it was) but the personal stories of these six individuals who bared not only their bodies, but their souls, to us and to each other.
Though Yorkshire born and bred. I confess I couldn’t understand a word Gaz said for the first five minutes but my ears soon adjusted, with the fantastic stage setting making up for any misunderstandings.
And a good-humoured audience played its part, cheering and screaming in all the right places – a lucky few catching the strippers’ clothes at the end.
Full Monty? You bet!
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