I’ve always regarded The Full Monty as the male equivalent to Calendar Girls.
Emerging several years after the Yorkshire WI ladies bared not quite everything, The Full Monty evened up the score giving the boys the chance to reveal their ‘naughty bits’ .
The secret of their success lies with their ability to win their audiences over, not just with the promise of nudity , but with the emerging stories of the characters who are just ordinary people with not a body beautiful in sight. Simon Beaufoy’s 1997 film script has transferred to the stage beautifully without losing any of its gritty northern humour and pathos. It’s a fluid, heart-felt production that moves with pace around Robert Jones’s superb set depicting a disused steel works, which transfers seamlessly and effectively into different locations.
Jack Ryder’s production is loaded with some excellent character acting and comedy timing and is interspersed with believable emotional moments.
There’s not one weak link in this cast that includes Gary Lucy as Gaz, desperate to pay his child maintenance, Louis Emerick (Horse) the team’s vintage stripper, and Anthony Lewis, an akward Lomper, struggling with his sexualty. Kai Owen is Dave, desperately trying to conceal his spare tyres; Andrew Dunn is snobby Gerald and Chris Fountain (Guy) who reveals a few big surprises.
The Full Monty dispenses lots of laughs and whips up an anticipated frenzy among the predominantly female audience who can remember the Chippendales – but this is all done in the best possible taste.
Leeds Grand Theatre, to December 3.