The Full Monty

The Full Monty‘In 1997, a British film about six out of work Sheffield steelworkers with nothing to lose, took the world by storm.’

After a critically acclaimed, sell-out run at Sheffield’s Lyceum Theatre in February, Sheffield Theatres’ new stage adaptation of the hugely successful, Academy Award-winning 1997 British comedy-drama has now embarked on an equally sold-out UK tour, ahead of a highly anticipated West End transfer later in the year.

“The once-successful steel mills of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, have shut down and most of the employees have been laid off. Former steel workers Gary “Gaz” Schofield and Dave Horsefall have resorted to stealing scrap metal from the abandoned mills to sell. Gaz is facing trouble from his ex-wife over child support payments that he’s failed to make since losing his job.”

Adapted for the stage by the Academy Award-winning British screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire – 2008), from his own Academy Award-nominated screenplay, the film follows the struggles of six out of work men (severely affected by unemployment and a sense of desolation), led by the aforementioned Gaz, who, inspired by a local Chippendale show, decide to form a male striptease act, promising to go ‘the full monty’, to earn some much needed cash, and the chance for Gaz to make enough money to pay off his child support obligations.

fSheffield Theatres’ resident artistic director, the multi-award winning actor-turned-director, Daniel Evans (who picked up an Olivier Award and a subsequent Tony Award-nomination for his role in the Menier Chocolate Factory’s 2005 revival of Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Sunday in the Park with George’) delivers a brilliantly staged, well-paced and effectively executed production, cleverly utilising the superb and inventive set design of Robert Jones to great effect.

Beaufoy’s well constructed screenplay effectively blends moments of raucous, almost farcical comedy, with teasing, crowd-pleasing audience participation, dark, gritty Northern humour, and a serious and poignant exploration of such themes as unemployment, fathers’ rights, depression, homosexuality, obesity, working class culture and suicide. The numerous scathing references to the recently deceased Margaret Thatcher (which may have seemed slightly dated until recent events) were particularly significant and proceeded to evoke notably vociferous reactions from the expectedly female heavy (or male scarce) audience.

The performances generally prove slightly hit and miss, but thankfully the central trio of Kenny Doughty, Roger Morlidge and Simon Rouse in the respective roles of Gaz, Dave and Gerald prove very strong and effectively drive the piece forward.

Featuring the well-known songs as featured in the film, this new stage adaptation ultimately proves an enjoyable and fun-filled piece of theatre, and though the action does begin to drag in the first act, the second act quickly builds momentum and races towards a much anticipated and vocally well-received finale.

Running Time: 2 hours 30 minutes, including a 20-minute interval.

Final Performance at The Lowry, Salford Quays: Saturday 20 April, 2013.