Just as I had expected Aylesbury Waterside Theatre was packed out for the opening night of The Full Monty, with women and men clearly looking for some hot stuff.
When the film originally came out in 1997, I worked for Odeon Cinema so witnessed it taking the world by storm, staying on the big screen for over a year, unlike other films that came and went within a matter of weeks. If I remember correctly, it was going to originally be called ‘Eggs, Beans, and Chippendales’ which really doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Being one of my favourite films of all time, I had already set the bar high. I don’t read too much into shows before reviewing them so not to have my opinion swayed, but was pleased to hear that this wasn’t a musical and that it actually followed the storyline, much like the film.
The show is about a group of men in Sheffield who lost their jobs back in 1980’s when the steel industry collapsed. Each struggling with their own individual story, but desperate for money. Gaz (Gary Lucy) and his friend Dave (Martin Miller) decide to become male strippers for one night only.
All six of the leads Gary Lucy, Martin Miller, Bobby Schofield, Rupert Hill, Louis Emerick and Andrew Dunn had such great chemistry on stage, effortlessly filling their roles perfectly as we laughed and cried with them as we followed them on their journey. The fact that each individual character actually resembled their character from the film was a perfect touch, so if you’re a fan of the film it makes it really easy to relate to. Even if you haven’t seen the film you won’t struggle to follow the story line as it’s been taken to the stage and written perfectly by Simon Beaufoy.
Gary Lucy played Gaz superbly. The storyline with him and his son enables the audience to connect with him on an emotional level, as we see him do whatever it takes to continue to see his son.
What impressed me most of all was that it is a ‘feel good’ play that had us laughing uncontrollably all the way through, even though the storyline is about unemployment, sexual equality, suicide, homosexuality, body image and every day struggles.
I don’t want to give too much away but all the funny moments from the film are in the show especially one of my favourite bits when they’re all standing in the queue at the job centre toe tapping, not to mention Dave wrapping himself in clean film before eating a Mars bar.
I take my hat off to the cast because The Full Monty is everything I had hoped it would be. It’s chuffing brilliant, a must see!
The show runs at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre until Saturday 28th November 2015. For more information and bookings go to http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/aylesbury-waterside-theatre/