Even as the curtain rose there were cheeky hoots from an audience looking for a good time and any opportunity for a laugh. So it’s perhaps a good thing that this stage adaption of The Full Monty plays up the wisecracks and brazen banter.
The Full Monty
Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street
* * * *
Yet this is a quieter story than the hit 1997 film that spawned it and the American musical of the same name. In part because the first act of the production is light on the upbeat music that made the film a feel-good hit. It isn’t until the second act that the play really hits its stride and gains rhythm, momentum and a cracking soundtrack.
Taking the lead as Gaz is Kenny Doughty, who has most recently appeared on our screens in the sitcom Stella. Hailing from the acting school of “Northern” equals shouty gruffness, there are moments when Doughty’s aggressive, exuberant energy dents his character’s opportunity to display pathos and self reflection. All rather ironic considering Doughty is Barnsley born and bread.
Although, it must be difficult for the actor to really get to grips with Gaz’s relationship with his son as the character of Nathan rotates regularly between four young boys.
Playing best friend and confidant Dave, Roger Morlidge puts in a sensitive performance which chimes nicely with the frustrations of wife Jean, a tentative Rachel Lumberg.
Craig Gazey’s Lomper is very much his own, bringing out the character’s awkwardness and uncertainty beautifully.
Driving the action is an ever looming date with the local working men’s club and a crowd of baying women waiting for the men to redeem their shattered self esteem and masculinity by getting their kit off. The story, in essence, a drawn out tease, leading to an all too brief climax. Director Daniel Evans does a respectable job of corralling his performers into a cohesive dance troupe yet doesn’t take any further steps to explore the art of undressing or give the cast room to question the idea of sexual exploitation.
But then, the audience really wasn’t there for a philosophical debate on nudity, more an enthusiastic celebration of the male form in all it’s glory – no matter how brief.