THEATRE REVIEW: Treat yourselves with The Full Monty

The Full Monty PNL-141006-162614001
The Full Monty PNL-141006-162614001

The lunchbox has certainly landed with The Full Monty being brought back to life in spectacular style more than 15 years after the hit film.

The curtain went up on the first of a six-night run at the Derngate in Northampton in November and the predominantly female crowd all seemed to go home with a big smile on their face. Now there is another chance to see the show in the area as it is on at Milton Keynes Theatre from January 19 to 24.

Adapted from the film released back in 1997, the stage show has been perfectly sculpted to retain the charm, humour and sensitivity of the original.

With a backdrop of Sheffield in the 1980s, the tale unfolds of Gaz and his friends as they try to deal with life after the steelworks.

Faced with unemployment and money troubles, Gaz, played by Hollyoaks and Footballers Wives actor Gary Lucy, comes up with a plan to turn him and his mates from out-of-work no-hopers into the stars of a one night only strip show.

But while the stripping may take the headlines, there is so much more to this story as each of the cast’s individual stories start to unravel on stage.

While Gaz is trying to find the money to see his son Nathan, Dave (Martin Miller) is struggling to keep the spark alive in his marriage, Gerald (Andrew Dunn) can’t bring himself to tell his wife about losing his job and Lomper (Bobby Schofield) feels there’s little reason to live.

Horse (Louis Emerick) and Guy (Rupert Hill) have their own issues to contend with.

But while unemployment, homosexuality, suicide and impotence feature as part of the storyline, there is a strong feelgood factor to this show and the audience was never too far away from its next laugh.

For all the darkness suffered by many after the closure of the steelworks, the show captures moments of hope brilliantly as the friends take themselves from sitting around in the job club, learning to dance and having the courage to stand up in front of hundreds of screaming women with not much on.

There’s a real boyish charm to Gary Lucy as the ringleader, and son Nathan (played in Northampton by Fraser Kelly) was so confident and accomplished for someone so young.

The gang has a great chemistry as they twist, gyrate and haphazardly try to be sexy in a bid to beat the hardships thrown their way.

And yes, everyone wants to know if Gaz and co get their kit off - it is The Full Monty after all.

But there are no spoilers here.

All I would say is this is a fabulous adaptation of the iconic British film and it’s a delight from start to finish.

From the depths of despair to getting the Buns of Steel on stage, it’s an absolute treat for the audience and well worth seeing.