Monday, 3 March 2014

'The Full Monty' Noel Coward Theatre ***

The majority of us have seen the immensely appealing and in grossing 1997 film’ The Full Monty’ and this recent stage adaptation is just as entertaining as the film version. When I was at the show the main source of audience demographic with females and the occasional gay man, I count myself in with that. The surprising thing that no woman thought it would be appropriate enough to throw their underwear on to the Noel Coward stage but I'm sure that he himself would find it is agreeable to fling his pants on to the proscenium arch. Even though the comedy value was nothing more than exceptional the dialogue does possess a vast proportion of innuendo and some scenes have a lot of emotional moment that do pull onto your heartstrings. The stage play was originally seen by audiences in Sheffield last year and for me it is even more gripping than the 1990s film. The film's screenwriter Simon Beaufoy has written and adapted it for the stage and what is particularly eye-catching is that it is largely set in the abandoned steelworks factory where the characters had earned their wages. It's a definite similarity to the smash hit musical ‘Billy Elliot: The Musical’ with the disastrous actions within manual labour in Thatcherite’s nineteen eighties and this is highly apparent when the play begins with a speech that's become world renowned and expressing “the Lady's not for turning.”  Some of you may not have agreed with her politics but we must praise her for becoming Britain's first female Prime Minister. The narrative and dialogue are very similar to the film where we see unemployed steelworkers seeking a chance to become the North's own version of the Chippendales and the central protagonist, Gaz’ battle in losing access to his young son if he simply cannot successfully agree with the maintenance payments. His friends join him as it's a new sense of opportunity for them to earn desperate money to survive. Kenny Doughty plays Gaz with a sense of tenacity and ease and the scene between him and Jack Hollington as the son are a tear-jerking moment. Robert Morlidge is hilarious as they quite obese Dave and former ‘Coronation Street’ actor Craig Gazey performs the goofy and slightly obtuse Lomper to a brilliant standard of characterisation. The collaboration of Daniel Evans the director and Robert Jones's design is nothing more than marvellous and phenomenal and free encapsulates the struggles of life especially unemployment. A very good production indeed.

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