This forerunner to The Full Monty was written in 1989 and proved a
smash hit under the direction of Paul Kerryson. Now it's touring again, courtesy of Newpalm Productions, but falls
disastrously short of expectation. In all honesty, Kerryson would be
well advised to have his credit removed from the programme.
The story tells of five unemployed guys who think they may earn some money
by turning themselves into a male strip group. They show us their
embarrassing first ideas at routines, enlist the help of a female trainer
and become a stripping success. Sadly, since even their finale has no more sex appeal than soggy
dishcloths, the whole piece falls flat. Let's face it, the primarily female
audience has come along to have a laugh and see supposedly hunky blokes get
their kit off!
Casting requirements for the show demand guys who can act, dance, be sexy
and funny. And yet each of these chaps barely manages competence in
just one of those departments, and when you find yourself laughing at a
routine because it's so awful, you know they must be way off the mark. Further casting disappointment can be found in Caroline Head, as Glenda the fitness trainer cum dancer who helps the boys along. Shrill and embarrassing, she literally shrieks her way through her lines.
Anthony McCarten and Stephen Sinclair's script is amusing enough,
although the 12-year-old jokes could probably do with new blood. Performer
Stuart Morrison, listed as associate director, has poorly copied the show
from previous productions in which he played "boy in gym". (Ironically, this production's "boy in gym", Stefan Carpino, is the sexiest
of the bunch. His two-minute quick strip is the highlight of the show.)
Sets, designed by Charles Cusick-Smith, appear to be the same ones I saw
looking a bit tired in the early 1990s, and at least a third of the costumes
were seen two years ago in Kerryson's touring production of Hen
So there you have it. Awful sets, guys who have no idea of sex appeal and a
poorly rehashed production. There are only three words adequate to describe
how cheap this show is. Save your money.