I joined hundreds of excited women at Hull New Theatre last night for the opening night of “The Full Monty”. Well, what an exciting and entertaining evening it was. The evening passed far too quickly as the show was engrossing, funny and the cast seemed to love the audience atmosphere and played up to them.
Set in the steel city of Sheffield in the 1980’s the story is of a group of former steel workers, all unemployed, and all in need of earning some money. After seeing the response of the local women to a visit to their local club by the ‘professional’ Chippendales, the guys decide they can do this stripping lark too!
The play follows the guys through the painful rehearsals until ‘Horse’ realises one of the moves is like an Arsenal set piece. All of a sudden the guys ‘click’ as to what is required and begin to shape up into a dance troupe.
This is a soap star laden cast led by Gary Lucy (most recently Luke Morgan in Hollyoaks, also Eastenders, The Bill and Footballers Wives) as the hapless Gary. Behind with his child maintenance and desperate to make up the money. Andrew Dunn (veteran of many Hull Truck productions. Brassed off, Holby City, Casualty, Midsomer Murders) plays former supervisor Gerald. He’s the one who can ballroom dance, and doesn’t tell the Mrs he’s been unemployed for 6 months. Louis Emerick (Mick Johnson in Brookside and, recently, Mike Thornberry in Coronation Street) plays Horse, great mover and looks hysterical in his long johns. Also in the cast are Joe Gill (Finn Barton, Emmerdale), Kai Owen (Casualty, Waterloo Road, Doc Martin, Hollyoaks), James Redmond (Finn in Hollyoaks, Casualty), and Gary’s son was played by Fraser Kelly (a Scunthorpe local).
This production has been very well cast. The guys all worked brilliantly together. Their comic timing was perfect and they had the mostly female audience whooping, clapping and cheering all through the show.
Now if you don’t like nudity, don’t go to see The Full Monty! The first half ends with the guys auditioning the new ‘strippers’ and James Redmond removes his trousers to reveal his bum to the audience and a surprise between his legs. I was surprised the women in the front row didn’t have a heart attack!
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The first half flew past. It was fast paced and great fun. The set was industrial, and very well used to show the derelict steelworks, the Job Club, Gerald’s house among other scenes by the carefully placed props.
Director Rupert Hill (Eastenders, Holby City, Coronation Street being a few of his acting credits) directed the cast superbly. Written by Simon Beaufoy, The Full Monty was slick, gritty, rude and full of adult humour.
The second act passed as quickly as the first. Before we knew it, the time had come for the guys to perform at the local working men’s club. The costumes were familiar to those seen in The Full Monty movie, on came the guys to that classic Tom Jones hit “You Can Leave Your Hat On”. Of course the audience joined in, clapping, cheering and encouraging the guys. “You can leave your hat on”; well, 99.9% of the audience were certainly pleased the didn’t leave their hat on!
A standing ovation was well deserved for the entire cast and the audience left with heads ringing of Donna Summers’ “Hot Stuff”, James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good)”, “Je T’aime Moi Non Plus”, and Hot Chocolate’s “You Sexy Thing”.
This was a fantastic night at the theatre. The audience of mostly women of all ages had a blast and everyone left on a high. Should you go see The Full Monty? You bet you should go. It’s a FIVE STAR show, gritty, touching and still topical. Don’t miss it. Girls, go with your mates and have a great time. Wolf whistle if you can and cheer the lads on.