The Full Monty – Cygnet Players

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I attended Cygnet Players of the Full Monty on their opening night, Wednesday 31st September at Putney Arts Centre.

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For those of you that don’t know the musical version of the Full Monty the storyline is very similar to the film but the action is shifted to America. Buffalos steel factory closes down and making Buffalos men unemployed as a result. It tells of Jerry, played by Philip Doyle, who comes up with the idea of putting together a strip troupe after the Chippendales taking Buffalo by storm. Jerry is desperate for this to work in order to keep joint custody of his son Nathan, played by Conor Mather. He ropes in his best friend Dave, played by Rob Malone, who struggles with his weight and feeling emasculated by his breadwinner wife. Together they go onto recruit Harold, played by Jason Thomas who is hiding from his wife that he has been made redundant, Malcolm, played by Adam Walker, a lonely young man struggling to look after his sick mother, Horse played by Kob Yeboah who has concerns over living up to his nickname and Ethan played by Sam Benton who can’t sing or dance but has other hidden talents. In order to attract the numbers they need to their show they announce that they are going to go ‘The Full Monty.’

The guys that make up ‘Hot Metal’ (the strip group) all bond very well together. In a show where a large chunk of the script refers to their physical features the look of the group is vital and they got it spot on with this casting. The warmth and sensitivity each of them played their respective characters with also came across well and as a result I really believed their love for their wives, children and each other. I particularly warmed to Rob Malone’s interpretation of Dave and my heart went out to him sitting on the toilet clutching a roll of clingfilm. At times the some of guys solo singing wasn’t as strong as I would have liked for a musical however due to their conviction they played the character with I could overlook this. One major exception to this was Philip Doyle who had a great rock sound to his voice. Kob also sang ‘Big Black Man’ with brilliant flair and showed off his dance ability well.

The women in this show have less to do and have a more difficult time to make their mark. Angie Schultz as Vicki did however manage to bring the house down with ‘Life with Harold.’ Her facial expressions and execution of this number were pure comedy gold.

At times the action was slow moving, partly due to the story itself and partly due to lengthy scene changes which could have been shortened using lighting however all of this was forgotten by the time we got to the finalie. ‘Let It Go,’ was brilliantly executed by ‘Hot Metal,’ they carried this out with brilliant confidence and didn’t let their character slip despite knowing that they were about to bear all to friends, family and strangers. Having the female cast members in the audience was also a great directorial choice as this helped get the audience going. Another standout scene for me was the scene that lead into ‘The Goods’ and the number itself when the guys realise that women will be judging them in the same manner that they judge women. The women coming into this number was a nice touch although some of the girls needed an extra bit of sass and to parody themselves to really take the number to the next level.

The set was well done and allowed use of levels and clearly set the location. At time the sound levels needed adjusting as some cast members, (in particularly those without microphones) went unheard in comparison to the band. I must also give a nod to the lighting operator, who much to ‘Hot Metals’ relief I imagine, was quick on the lighting cues.

Overall there was a great atmosphere in the theatre and I ended up leaving this production of the Full Monty feeling like I had a great girls night out.

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