Full Monty at The Churchill Theatre

Full Monty
Full Monty at The Churchill Theatre

Last night I had the pleasure of attending Simon Beaufoy’s award winning play The Full Monty at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley. It is the story of jack the lad Gaz, wonderfully portrayed by EastEnders star Gary Lucy, and his best mate Dave, played by Kai Owen, who are down on their luck after the closure of the steel mills in Sheffield which put so many able bodied men out of work. While out one night they try to enter their favourite pub and find it taken over by the local ladies and a traveling group of male strippers. After the pub owner boasts about all the money they are raking in from the excited ladies Gaz has a brilliant idea on how to make a few quid to change his luck and make things right with his teenage son Nathan. The program states that the play is based on the Fox Searchlight Pictures motion picture of the same name but as Simon Beaufoy wrote both the screen play for the film and adapted it for the stage the two are almost identical. Not a problem if you loved the film and both actors and technical team lived up to the transformation.

Full MontyThe set, designed by Robert Jones, was effective and well used without any major set changes apart from crates, tables and chairs and other easily transportable items. These were moved by the cast in perfectly choreographed set changes that enabled the action to continue throughout the play. Though once or twice the constant dimming and raising of the lights for set changes did impede the more dramatic moments.

The play itself was a bit slow to start, with both Gary and Kai rushing the Sheffield accent a bit for my ears, which meant I didn’t immediately connect with either character but as the action picked up mid way through the first act and both actors settled in to their roles the language became more understandable and as a result the characters more loveable. The stand outs for me were Gaz’s son Nathan, brilliantly played by Fraser Kelly, who gave us a good balance of moody adolescent and adoring son and also Joe Gill who played Lomper, the shy security guard who tires to commit suicide and is foiled by his crippling fears and lack of mates to help him out.

Let’s be honest you don’t go to see The Full Monty to see a thought provoking theatrical piece and the men didn’t disappoint. It takes a lot of guts to get on stage in front of a theatre full of screaming women and take your clothes off but all six men did a fantastic job. Louis Emerick, who played Horse, set the tone in the first act with an excellent dance audition that had the audience clapping along and was swiftly followed by a trouser drop from the brilliant James Redmond at the end of the first act. The music and choreography really enhanced all of the stripping action so that it never felt vulgar or in your face but was realistic as a bunch of regular guys trying to cling to the comradery and dignity that had been lost to them with the loss of their jobs.

If you are looking for a great night’s entertainment, then I thoroughly recommend The Full Monty which is on at The Churchill Theatre until the 27th of November but maybe leave the men at home.

Review by Alex Wharram

To buy tickets for the Full Monty and to see what else is on at The Churchill Theatre visit their website. 

If you like this review you might also like my review of The Trench, Dirty Dancing and Mythic. 

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