The show opens with a blast of James Brown - loud enough to shock the audience – mainly women but with a few brave men - in our seats.
There is nostalgia, anger and pathos as Kenny Doughty, the handsome, cheeky Gaz, and best mate - overweight Dave (Roger Morlidge) reminisce about the days before the closures and bemoan the struggle to keep a son and wives happy and the money flowing. The pair make a superbly funny, double act. Tonight Jack Hollington plays Gaz`s son, Nathan. A superb little actor, but his strong accent does make some of his dialogue unintelligible.
Along comes Craig Gazey, the fey Lomper, who manages to turn an attempted suicide into a hilarious story – You’ll have to see it to believe it! Sidney Cole is the rheumatic but extremely active Horse, and Kieran O`Brian plays the ridiculously well-endowed Guy.
As this funny, motley crew concoct an absurdly inspirational plan to perform an imitation of the Chippendale`s show, Simon Rose, a snooty Gerald, is the man who can make it happen. Then the fun really begins.... grown men turn into naughty little boys when the very versatile Tracey Brabin (playing Linda, Sharon and Annie) appears, to demonstrate a proper strip-tease. Yet, a cunning plan is hatched to rescue them from their current financial crisis.
In terms of following the film, this gritty show, with dialogue that is both sharp and funny, ticks all the right boxes. It is very cleverly directed by Daniel Evans, who tempers laughter and sentiment. His cast are superb, with a powerful ensemble of strong characterisations, and the central father/son relationship so convincingly realised by Kenny Doughty.
Scene changes are fast and snappy, and the choreography by Steven Hoggett brilliant.
Featuring iconic songs by James Brown, Donna Summer, Hot Chocolate and Tom Jones.... add a raucous and hysterically funny finale, and it’s a winner.