Monday night was Ladies’ Night at The Regent theatre as the hit show, The Full Monty, had made its way to Stoke as a part of their UK tour. I took my mum along with me and before we’d even taken our seats we knew that tonight was going to be a good night! The crowd was huge and women packed into the theatre before calling time, hotly anticipating the arrival of men on the stage.
I had seen Simon Beaufoy’s film, of the same name and I was pleased to see that the show kept to it’s hilarious storyline and the characters were perfectly matched by the stage’s ensemble of Sheffield’s unemployed steel workers in the midst of an economic crash and more than a little desperate to earn an honest wage.
Gary Lucy was perfect; he seemed to embody the ‘Gaz’ we knew in the 1997 film who concocts the idea of forming a male stripper group for one night only. He was the cheeky chappy always up for the crack (excuse the pun!) and had excellent comical timing but in fact, some of this best scenes were with his on-stage son, Nathan, who is the main reason Gaz is so desperate with the threat of losing access to his son looming over him. He needs to pay his way in Child Support and getting his kit off might just be the way…
I couldn’t help but notice how spot on the characters Gaz (Gary Lucy) and Dave (Martin Miller) were to the 1997 film, and I mean this as a credit to them as actors, intentional or not. They nailed the mannerisms, body language and struck up the same friendship you see in the film between Robert Carlyle and Mark Addy which was so reminiscent of what we all saw in the film but they completely made the parts their own (though I might wager Gary Lucy had the body for the part!)
The six leading men- Gary Lucy, Martin Miller, Bobby Schofield, Rupert Hill, Louis Emerick and Andrew Dunn- each do a fantastic job in telling their individual stories and keeping the humour (and naughtiness) afloat, even in the more serious of scenes. They tackle depression, sexuality, self-confidence and emotional turmoil all while wearing a red thong! And let me tell you, Guy (Rupert Hill) certainly brought the first half to a jaw-dropping (and pant dropping!) end.
For anyone who has seen the film, you know there are a few scenes you are just waiting to see unravel on the stage to see how it matches the movie (and we’re not just talking about THE scene) and for me, the one which really made me chuckle was when the six men, seemingly down on their luck and past the idea and allure of forming the stripper group, are queuing up, defeated, in the job centre when Donna Summer’s ‘Hot Stuff’ plays on the radio and a little wiggle of a hip confirmed that the boys were BACK!
Like many of the big shows we’ve been lucky enough to have come to The Regent Theatre in Stoke, notably Warhorse and The Bodyguard, The Full Monty too had me rushing home to watch the movie to rediscover what I’d just seen on stage.
Oh and in case you were wondering; yes, they do go all the way (with a little help from the bright stage lights to save a few blushes).
The Full Monty runs at The Regent Theatre in Stoke until Saturday 31st October. Tickets are available online or you can call the Box Office on 0844 871 7649.