Theatre: The Full Monty (The Lyceum Sheffield)
Nearly sixteen years after seeing the story of Sheffield’s finest bare all in the blockbuster movie The Full Monty returns to Steel City, this time on the stage. As a fan of the film I had high hopes for the stage production and was worried it just wouldn’t quite measure up. But I am pleased to report the performance was far from a flop and left not only me, but every woman and man for that matter, in the audience, more than satisfied. Simon Beaufoy’s story that follows a group of ex-steelworkers shunning job club and trying their hand at stripping is brought to life by a stellar cast featuring more than a few familiar faces. Kenny Doughty strikes the perfect balance with his portrayal of cheeky chief stripper Gaz who also has some more touching scenes with son Nathan played by talented local school lad Travis Caddy. Craig Gazey probably best known from the cobbles of Coronation Street is hilarious as the suicidal and sensitive Lomper whilst Kieran O’Brien had the audience in fits of laughter and shrieks of shock with the infamous “the lunchbox has landed scene” as part of his portrayal of loud, proud gay stripper Guy. Like the name promises the audience certainly got their money’s worth and were indeed treated to the Full Monty in the final scenes that were cleverly put together to make the audience feel like they were guests at the working men’s club. It was easy to forget you were sat in the ornate surroundings of The Lyceum theatre and as we clapped along, gasped in shock and shrieked with laughter I felt more like a guest at a raucous hen party. Respect must be given to the six lead actors who deserve credit for not only getting their kit off in front of a sold out crowd but for the chemistry between them that for me made the show. Nudity and laughs aside although the production has comedy at its heart themes of unemployment, depression and father’s rights are also tackled head on making for some more moving moments. Perhaps the most touching scenes come from Roger Morlidge who plays overweight, shy stripper Dave and his wife Jean played by Rachel Lumberg. Meanwhile Simon Rouse portrays raw emotion as gnome loving Gerald. The only disappointment came from Caroline Carver whose performance as Mandy (Gaz’s ex) fell a little flat against the other cast members. All round the production was a true crowd pleaser and made for a thoroughly enjoyable evening that resulted in a well deserved standing ovation. If it’s entertainment you’re after you will struggle to find a show that ticks all the boxes like this production. For me The Full Monty really was the full package and it’s easy to see why this production, that continues its run until Saturday, is a complete sell out.