Saturday, May 28

The Full Monty – Gladstone Theatre

Feel good and full of laughs, The Full Monty provides a great night out for those who enjoy raw humour, a variety of on-stage approaches and acknowledgement of the audience. Based on the hit film and Broadway Musical, D&S Productions’ The Full Monty brings its own stamp to the show, and all for a charitable cause.

It is clear this company are having fun performing this!

Content is designed for an adult or 14+ audience. There is swearing, sexual references, suicide references, racial references and nudity throughout the performance and some of the reactions of the audience are best heard by teens and above only. It’s also worth noting that the scripting, although parody in some aspects, may cause offence and must be considered within the time and context of the characters.

Opening in a manner where the cast and audience are almost inseparable, a presenter welcomes guests as if they are within a club. Gaggles of women stand either side of the theatre, giggling and calling out as a centurion struts on stage and this sets the tone of light-hearted fun for the night ahead.

At first it wasn’t clear whether this is the cast or not. However, opening in this way loosens up the audience immediately and was cleverly looped back around to at the end of the show, when it certainly wasn’t just the cast calling out.

The plotline for The Full Monty is set in the US and follows six unemployed steel workers in Buffalo, New York. None have a job, money or prospects. Jerry (Soloman Adams) needs to earn some money in order to keep seeing his son so convinces his friend Dave (Damian Riverol) to join him in stripping. They then recruit severely depressed Malcolm (Chris Doyle) and Harold (Mike Jenkinson-Deakin) before holding hilarious auditions for the final two spots in their six.

Joy McIntosh does an excellent turn as Jeanette Burmeister, with expert timing and a knowing camaraderie. It’s during these auditions we’re introduced to Horse (Courtney Gabbidon) and Ethan (Kyle Hickman), who both had a penchant for chemistry with the audience when performing and an inspirational repertoire of dance moves.

The six leading men showed great cohesion. They hold a clear rapport with each other on stage and this ensures complex dance routines and songs can be performed effectively – their rendition of ‘Michael Jordan’s Ball’ is not to be missed!

Although it’s a light-hearted show overall, the sub-plots of how unemployment is affecting each of them and the pressures each one faces brings a sensitivity to seeing The Full Monty as a stage show. This aspect came across on stage in a way that the film doesn’t capture as clearly.

As the men prepare to bare all, the audience witnesses their emotional and physical peaks and troughs. We see the way no money impacts day-to-day lives, the way love can blossom from tragedy and the way six men who were all struggling alone at the start, become each other’s support network through the united focus of stripping. Whilst on the surface they’re stripping for the one big pay out, as the show progresses the desperation for both the purpose and the pay out come to the fore.

With plenty of laughs and a feel-good factor underpinning some serious themes, The Full Monty by D&S Productions has good singing, great dancing and promises you’ll leave the theatre smiling. The Full Monty is showing 11th-14th May 2022 at The Gladstone Theatre. Keep up to date with their activities on Instagram and Facebook.

Reviewer: Ezzy LaBelle

Reviewed: 12th May 2022

North West End Rating: ★★★★

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