Review: The Full Monty at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal
You’ll laugh out loud and maybe shed a tear as a group of down on their luck friends dare to bare all in The Full Monty, now playing at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal.
Lovers of the dark and down to earth, Oscar-winning, smash-hit comedy film of the same name will love this show, which is full of heart and humour.
For the uninitiated, the story follows the schemes and escapades of six unemployed steel workers from Sheffield who decide the quickest way to make money in the midst of a national recession is to become male strippers.
It is the tale of ordinary, working class folk, who meet hardships head on with a laugh and a joke in the declining industrial years of Thatcher’s Britain.
Down on their luck, our main characters, Gaz and Dave think they can get rich quick after a Chippendales acts comes to town for a sell out show.
Soon meeting up with a colourful cast of characters, the idea of a working mans striptease act quickly becomes a reality and there is no turning back.
We also discover that what started as a silly, half-baked idea to make a few quid, soon holds high stakes for all involved.
Although billed as a 12+, the show tackles adult themes of sex, shame, identity, divorce, child custody and depression — including an extremely graphic attempted suicide scene.
But these difficult themes are handled with the same type of gallows humour that many can relate to, and for every shock there were a dozen more jokes cracked to get the audience roaring with laughter again.
Shortly before the interval, the audience was in for an eye-full as Guy — played by Jake Quickenden — revealed the swinging silhouette of his two foot prosthetic “manhood” unfurling, much to the shock and delight of many in the stalls.
As the show reached it’s climax, the audience were fully invested in the tales of our hunky heroes as the cast finally got their kit off in the big Full Monty finale.
Full credit and a special mention goes to the show’s set designers, who created an immersive world using an ingenious and adaptive set which could be moved and rotated around the stage to create a full range of believable locations — from the run down steel mills and pub alleyways of Sheffield, to the job club, police station and family homes.
As a fan of the original 1990s film, I loved the nostalgic feel of this production, but also it’s timeless message of hope in the face of hardship.
Arguably where it strays from it’s namesake inspiration, the subtle changes made for a more enjoyable and streamlined experience.
The laughs only stopped when the story called for sympathy and a quiet moment between characters, but not a single minute was wasted.
If you’re ready for some hot stuff this evening, be sure not to miss this funny and feel-good show.
The Full Monty is playing at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal until this Saturday, November 4.