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 Party.

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.

- Elizabeth Ferrie (reviewed at the Nottingham Theatre Royal)

Ladies Night tours to:

  • w/c June 18 Nottingham Theatre Royal
  • w/c June 25 Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage
  • w/c July 2 Theatre Royal, Brighton
  • w/c July 9 New Theatre, Cardiff
  • w/c July 16 Grand Theatre, Leeds
  • w/c July 23 Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield
  • w/c July 30 New Theatre, Hull
  • w/c August 6 Eden Court, Inverness
  • w/c August 13 His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen