Theatre review: The Full Monty at Manchester Opera House

 The cast of the Full Monty bare all
The cast of the Full Monty bare all


If you were to create a play from a recipe it must include a number of ingredients – a story, compelling characters, moments of happiness and sadness, of human redemption and of course a unique selling point.

But it is not simply a sum of its parts – the finished product can fall flat.

Fortunately this was not the case for the Full Monty, which was already on to a winner following the hit film.

Cross this with former Footballers Wives star Gary Lucy in a starring role as Gaz and with a USP of his own …. the theatre was full.

But Full Monty, the story of a disparate group of jobless former Sheffield steel factory workers of varying ages (and physical condition) who try out stripping as a career move, takes the high and lows concept to extreme and is not for the faint-hearted.

Comedy it may be, but the dark themes of unemployment, desperation, threatened loss of family and exploration of sexuality are raw and relevant, although the scenario is very much that of 1980s Sheffield.

The attempted suicide by hanging scene, although comedic and played perfectly by Bobby Schofield as Lomper, is honest to the point of disturbing for some and I witnessed one audience member leave with tears flowing down her face.

But the moments of humour far outweigh the sadness and laugh out loud moments have the audience in stitches (the girl that can pee standing up), with many of the best one liners reserved for Gaz’s son young Nathan, played by 12-year-old Fraser Kelly – whose timing was spot on.

The audience were fully on side with the cast within moments and the whoops start every time a character so much as wiggles or takes off his coat.

It builds with climactic (excuse the pun) and emotional inevitability to the moment their ‘Full Monty’ stage performance – prompting a standing ovation.

Possibly because a lighting glitch meant a press and VIP audience saw rather more than the cast were expecting…

Also starring former Brooksider Louise Emerick as Horse, former Coronation Street actor Rupert Hill as Guy, TV stage veteran Andrew Dunn as Gerald and Martin Miller as Dave, this is a must-see, I doubt you would be disappointed.

Not a bum note.

This first appeared in the Lancaster Guardian on September 16, 2014 Click HERE