by Natalie Roe
Looking for some Hot Stuff, baby, this evening? Then get down to York’s Grand Opera House, where The Full Monty is playing until 20 October.
Simon Beaufoy has adapted his screenplay into a stage play to create a hilarious, brilliant and often moving production. Set in Sheffield, six unemployed and desperate men turn to stripping to try and earn some cash. It’s the 90s; the steel industry is collapsing, and redundancy has decimated the workforce. However, with its scenes in the “Job Club” and themes of depression, self-worth and masculinity, it still feels as relatable and relevant as if it was set in 2018.
The performances were excellent throughout, from Gary Lucy’s cheeky jack-the-lad Gaz to Andrew Dunn’s pompous Gerald: a character so high on his pedestal, he has a long way to fall. The interview scene where his hopes were dashed by Gary, Dave (Kai Owen) and a couple of garden gnomes was both hilarious and crushing. The play works best when blending pathos with comedy, it has a lot of dark moments, but the laughs don’t stop coming. Particularly moving are the scenes portraying Dave’s struggle with his body image, and the relationship with Gaz and his son Nathan (Fraser Kelly), as Gaz tries desperately to make this caper work to raise the funds for child maintenance.
An aspect of the play which differs from the film is the development of Lomper (Joe Gill) and Guy’s (James Redmond) attraction. An added scene has the pair discussing their homosexuality in a subtle, sensitive and beautiful scene, which was delicately played by Gill and Redmond. When they left the stage, they received a round of applause from the audience. All the iconic moments from the film were present: The Post Office queue, Dave and the clingfilm, the unforgettable “Lunchbox has landed” -the latter taking place at the end of Act One in a dramatic manner reminiscent of the chandelier drop in Phantom of the Opera - both involving large objects swinging around the auditorium! The final scene with the familiar Tom Jones’ “You Can Leave Your Hat On” soundtrack and strip routine led to a standing ovation.
All in all, a fantastic production and a chuffing great night out!
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