Sunday, July 14

The Full Monty – The Alexandra

Most people know one thing about The Full Monty, it’s about a group of men who decide to be male strippers. There is however a whole lot more to this brilliant show than that. The themes in this play are as relevant now as they were when the story was first written.

As the redundant steel workers struggle to make ends meet and deal with unemployment in their own ways, we are shown a realistic portrayal of the struggles faced by anyone in that position. Each character has his issues, Gaz the laddish, confident rogue played with gusto and heart by Danny Hatchard, who would do anything for his son. Dave (Neil Hurst) dealing with weight problems and rock bottom self-esteem and Gerald (Bill Ward) trying desperately to hide his unemployment from his wife and the world. These and the other men that join them along the way, all pull together to get back the most important thing they have lost, male pride. Except Guy, (Jake Quickenden) who outwardly has pride to spare, but is that really the case?

Many serious subjects are tackled, including old age, suicidal thoughts and loss of a loved one but it is always with a lighter touch. The superbly written script is liberally peppered with wry humour giving laugh out loud moments that keep you smiling after the show has ended. The humour serves to lighten the mood but also make the poignant moments stronger. The scene between Dave and his wife (Katy Dean) when she finds a skimpy thong is particularly moving.

Everyone’s hearts were stolen by the youngest cast member Rowan Poulton who plays Nathan. He was both an innocent child, just wanting to spend time with his dad, and forceful, persuasive lad, older than his years.

The film has been transferred onto the stage seamlessly, including all the favourite moments and lines from the film as you would expect it to. The compact and jigsaw like set is cunningly used as a backdrop and base for all the other locations, including the club stage at the end. With carefully selected music linking the scenes as the set shifts, usually with the cast in character, this serves to keep you engaged and immersed in the moment.

The last scene is what most people are waiting for. It is here that the audience change from viewers of the men’s lives into an audience at the club ready for the one night only show. With perfect timing and cheek, the audience reaction to the routine raised the roof.

The strength of the performances, the laughs and a little bravery, warranted the (mainly female) audiences standing ovation.

This outstanding play has heart and a feel-good factor that is hard to beat. It will bring a smile to warm a chilly night.

Reviewer: Annette Nuttall

Reviewed: 30th January 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.