Strong women alongside The Full Monty’s male strippers

LtoR Pauline Fleming, Jess Schofield & Fiona Skinner in The Full Monty, credit Matt Crockett
LtoR Pauline Fleming, Jess Schofield & Fiona Skinner in The Full Monty, credit Matt Crockett

The full Monty, Lyceum Theatre, April 3 to 15, {https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/|Sheffield Theatres|click here}

The Full Monty might be a show about a bunch of men taking their clothes off but actress Fiona Skinner thinks it owes a lot to strong women characters too.

When Mandy’s having a go at Gaz for not paying child maintenance, we’ve had boos

Simon Beaufoy’s hilarious award-winning production brings its third UK tour to a close at the Lyceum.

In 1997, the film written by Simon about six out-of-work Sheffield steelworkers who decide to do a strip act took the world by storm.

Fiona said: “The tour’s been amazing. It’s great to be finishing in Sheffield where the play’s set and it’s nice to be going back there for two weeks.

“It’s rare that the women get a mention though. It’s sad in a way because they’re integral to the piece.”

Fiona, who has just been in Tom Hardy’s TV series Taboo, plays Jean, the wife of Dave, one of the strippers who struggles with his weight.

She said: “I love her, she’s everything I’d want to play in a character.

“In that initial scene, where we see her and her mates and they‘re shouting ‘get your willies out’, she’s drinking with her mates and she’s so carefree. She’s the one who’s working and holding it all together.

“She is the backbone of Dave. Without her he wouldn’t even get as far as he does by the end of the play. It’s so refreshing that Simon written a female character like that.”

The mainly female audiences have got very involved in the action, said Fiona. “It’s so funny, we’ve had times when Mandy’s having a go at Gaz for not paying child maintenance for Nathan that we’ve had boos and hisses, even a couple of shout outs. ”

Fiona was gang member Brighton in Taboo, a sidekick of Atticus, who was played by her acting hero, Stephen Graham, who she’d admired ever since he was in This is England.

“She is Atticus’s sidekick, always watching his back with a massive gun that was almost bigger than me. It was heavy too and nearly killed me a couple of times.

“To work with Tom Hardy, Scroobius Pip and David Hayman, it was a learning experience. It was amazing to watch these people at the peak of their professional game doing amazing and incredible things on set.”

Brighton had a huge scar running down her face and was heavily tattooed, so Fiona had to spend hours in make-up every day.