Sunday, May 19

The Full Monty – Opera House, Manchester

On Tuesday evening I had the pleasure of watching the comedic triumph ‘The Full Monty’ at the Manchester Opera House. Our director (Michael Gyngell), the show’s designer (Jasmine Swan) and the producer (David Pugh) has immense shoes to fill, and certainly did not disappoint. Being incredibly familiar with the show, and having watched it previously in an amateur capacity, I was very much looking forward to this brand new adaptation, featuring some well-known faces. 

The musical is cleverly adapted from the late 90’s British film of the same name, six unemployed Northern steelworkers, all low on cash, decide to present a strip act, for one night only, their local conservative club after seeing their wives’ enthusiasm for a touring company of Chippendales.

Danny Hatchard played the protagonist of our story, Gaz. He played a likeable character that the audience held huge empathy for – the rapport he held with his son, Nath, was that of a genuine loving father-son relationship and one which we saw grow immensely through the production. The other men completing the ‘Bums of Steel’ act were the lovable Jake Quickenden as Guy, the stern Bill Ward as Gerald, the hilarious Neil Hurst as Dave, Ben Onwukwe as the iconic Horse and the shy boy-next-door Nicholas Prasad as Lomper. These actors portrayed the roles to a T, and each one has a discernible personal difference, adding substance to the plot. This was particularly noticeable within the dancing scenes, as although executing the same moves, each character added a unique flair to the motions with both physicality and facial expression combined

The set was spectacular. Although I was sceptical at first, as the set appeared as a few mere steel panels, the structure came apart to reveal different detailed elements which would create each scene (for example: a house frontage on one side of the structure and sets of ladders and girders on the other to symbolise a factory). The set was expertly moved during musical interludes by both cast and backstage crew to create a smooth and believable scene change.

The lighting plot for the show was to a high standard, but naturally bland in some areas due to the need to represent an uninhabited steel factory for a large proportion of the show (dim, cold lighting). The stand-out moment for me, and I’m sure the remainder of our audience, was the finale in which an impressive lighting rig descended from the ceiling and was utilised to create a stunning show-within-a-show. The scene then ended with the audience being dazzled by gorgeous gold lighting as the boys ‘revealed it all’ in the true Full Monty fashion. Another effective element was colourful gobos cleverly positioned behind doors and windows to represent a nightclub/bar behind the other side – it is small elements and finer details like this, that truly elevate a show.

With an incredibly small percentage of seats left, tickets have absolutely flown out for this wildly entertaining revival. I strongly urge you to book now, to avoid disappointment. The Full Monty is running at The Manchester Opera House until 17th February, before continuing around the UK until mid April.

Reviewer: Grace Annabel

Reviewed: 13th February 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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