Theatre Review: THE FULL MONTY – Opera House, Manchester

THE FULL MONTY UK Tour

Rowdy and raucous, THE FULL MONTY is the ultimate crowd pleaser and a hilarious adaption of the hit 1997 film

First performed in 2013, the stage production of THE FULL MONTY is an adapted version of the 1997 film about a group of unemployed men who decide to become strippers for a night to raise money. The film was a major success upon release, becoming the highest earning film in the UK until it was outsold by TITANIC.

David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers’s presentation of the Sheffield Theatres production has equally been a major success winning the UK Theatre Award for Best Touring Production and will tour the UK & Ireland for the final ever time this year stopping off at the Manchester’s Opera House until 23 February.

Adapted for the stage by the film’s original Oscar-winning writer Simon Beaufoy, this hilarious and heartfelt production stars Gary Lucy, Andrew Dunn, Louis Emerick, James Redmond, Joe Gill and Kai Owen and is directed by Rupert Hill.

The Cast of THE FULL MONTY

Issues such as unemployment, custody battles, body image, sexuality and depression are all stripped bare and reflected upon in a way which doesn’t dampen their poignancy or the audience’s enjoyment. Each character has their own story, and as an audience member, you feel completely drawn into each of them. THE FULL MONTY appeals to men and women of all ages and from all classes. This is testament to the writing and Hill’s excellent direction.

Building on his experience from previously starring in the show, Hill has chosen to explore areas that interest him, drawing out the stories of the women in the play which he felt had been secondary to the story originally. That said a further scene in the second half might have helped to draw them out more.

The playing space is dominated by a disused steelwork spilt level structure, contributing to the industrial setting and allowing additional scope for the scenes to be played at levels.

The changing background vista is brought in to show the industrial backdrop of Sheffield but each scene is incredibly clear in its location through the movement of the props by the actors thanks to Designer Robert Jones together with Stage Managers Freddie Harris and Martin Hutchinson who are responsible for the look and technical elements of the show. The music is also a throwback to the nineties and nicely balanced with the action.

The Cast of THE FULL MONTY UK Tour

Ian West’s choreography varies in complexity depending on the scene. The male cast, who are meant to be amateur performers, are given material suitable to their ability at each scene as the story progresses. All of the choreography works effectively in the playing space.

The touring company is perfectly cast. Led by Gary Lucy (Luke Morgan in HOLLYOAKS), as Gaz, along with Andrew Dunn (Tony in DINNERLADIES) as Gerald, Louis Emerick (Mick Johnson in BROOKSIDE) as Horse, Joe Gill (Finn Barton in EMMERDALE) as Lomper, Kai Owen (Pete in HOLLYOAKS) as Dave and James Redmond (Finn in HOLLYOAKS). Standout performances come from Fraser Kelly as Nathan, who portrays Gaz’s son with poignancy and power. Dave, played by Kai, is also superb, both deserving the standing ovation.

Although the play is set in Sheffield some actors attempts at the accent is quite distracting at first and this was noted by a number of members of the audience. This aside, the entire production is well executed on every level and is the ultimate rowdy crowd-pleaser.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

THE FULL MONTY runs at Manchester’s Opera House until 23 February 2019.