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A Magazine for Sheffield
Live / stage review

The Full Monty at the Lyceum, 18th February.

Some 16 years since the unlikely worldwide success of The Full Monty film, the story of six unemployed Sheffield men who form a male striptease act (a la Chippendale dancers) makes its stage debut. Simon Beaufoy, Academy Award-winning screenwriter (Slumdog Millionaire) and original screenwriter, has successfully translated the story to the stage with the help of artistic director Daniel Evans. On a superficial level, The Full Monty is a light-hearted comedy. Despite this, the show is much deeper, touching on themes of class values, depression, male body image and fathers' rights, ensuring it resonate as much today as it did upon its release. It is as much a social commentary on the de-industrialisation of the North as it is a terrific story of overcoming adversity. The fact that Simon Beaufoy himself wrote the script ensures that the charm and comedy which made the original film so successful is translated to the stage. This translation is not a carbon copy but is a rigorous standalone piece that retains the most memorable scenes and story so loved by fans. The recreation of iconic scenes from the film is deftly done; the dole queue scene being a case in point. It takes the bravest actors to take on a nude role in a theatre where there isn't the potential for clever camera angles to protect their modesty. Kenny Doughty as Gaz captures the cheeky northern spirit of the character and delivers a solid performance throughout. His performance makes it easy to forgive the loveable rogue for his many flaws as a father. Travis Caddy, playing the part of Gaz's son Nathan, shows that local talent is being successfully nurtured at Sheffield Theates, something that Evans again deserves credit for. It is however in some of the subplots and characters that the most emotive and entertaining performances can be found. Simon Rouse as Gerald, the former foreman and Conservative party member, portrays the anger and resignation of the character with true integrity. Craig Gazey's Lomper captures the goofy spirit of the role with ease, showing his National Television award was duly deserved, whilst Roger Morlidge successfully carries much of the emotional honesty and weight of the story in his role as Dave. The final scene, set to Tom Jones' 'You Can Leave Your Hat On' as in the film, provides the pay-off the audience has been waiting for. I won't reveal whether the cast go the 'full monty', but it had the usually reserved Lyceum Theatre audience screaming like a hen do and fighting over the clothing slung into the audience. Every seat for this production has already sold out for the rest of the run, and on this evidence it is easy to see why. Photo by Tristram Kenton )

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