The Full Monty at Leeds Grand Theatre

It’s a show full of feel-good fun, telling the story of a group of out-of-work job seekers looking to make a quick bit of cash following Thatcher’s take-down of the steelworks. And what better way to make money than to go The Full Monty for one night only…

Gary Lucy returns to the show as Gaz, with Kai Owen skilfully reprising his role as Dave. Corrie‘s Louis Emerick returns as Horse and Andrew Dunn shines yet again as Gerald but there are some fresh faces too. James Redmond (best known for his work in Hollyoaks) plays confident Guy with a little too much confidence and Joe Gill (Emmerdale) takes to the stage as the shy and suicidal Lomper. Unfortunately the newbies don’t add anything to the cast – in fact, I think the show suffers from their addition as the mix isn’t just quite right between the men and the chemistry of camaraderie doesn’t feel genuine to me.

Rupert Hill’s direction ensures there is a lot of swagger, but not a great deal of sentiment. When Hill played Guy in a previous touring production, his character had elements of vulnerability and his relationship with Lomper was sweet and touching. Not in this show – if anything, it’s brushed over and the audience misses out on really getting to like these characters.

Unfortunately the impact of this loud and proud direction means the subtlety is lost and a lot of the jokes are crass and overblown. The characters shout their lines like a shopping list.

Simon Beaufoy’s play is packed with sub-plots and intensely likeable characters and, though the cast try to add humour to their role, in parts this is quite lacking and the characters appear two-dimensional. This, unfortunately, means the last scene falls flat. Where the audience should be on their feet rooting for the bad-lads-turned-good, I’m left awkwardly watching the cast try to drum up some cheering through their awkward strip routine.

Which brings me to the obsession with clutching. A lot of the cast, in particular Gary Lucy, seem particularly self conscious about their private parts. The minute they’re remotely exposed (underpants, blankets, dressing robes etc) – a few of the cast clutch their crotch like they’re mortified to be there. Which is understandable, except surely they know what they signed up for? It leaves for a slightly uncomfortable watch.

Overall it’s a really good show and comes with plenty of laughs. It’s just a shame that, as time has dragged on, the show has lost the majority of its pizzazz since the original tour. The cast look a little tired and bored of the same old, same old – perhaps it’s time for the tour to take a break, or come bouncing back with a refreshed cast of newbies.

Catch The Full Monty at Leeds Grand Theatre until 30th March 2019.

 

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