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The Full Monty (Salford)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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The Full Monty is of course based on the British film of the same name which went on to gross over £200 million worldwide. However, if you’re expecting to see the grit and grime of Yorkshire you would be wrong.

The Broadway musical version was given an American make over with the action relocated to Buffalo and the edges softened. It tells the story of a group of men who find themselves out of work and in desperate need of money, after seeing their wives pay top prices to see a male strip troupe the men decide anything those guys can do they can do better.

All Saints Musical Productions bring it to The Lowry for one week in an amateur production with mixed results. The stumbling blocks for their version are simple, some casting errors and the show itself.

The musical version as mentioned is a great deal more shinier and softer than its source material, substituting drama for song proves critical as the book never really delves that much in to the men’s life. It was a problem in the original production years ago and it still is here. Luckily the book provides much humour and the score whilst forgettable is entertaining enough to keep the piece moving for the most part. The main problem is the slow act one which never really kicks in fully; luckily act two fares much better.

The performances are a mixed bag, Ian Bennet as Jerry the man with the plan plays the role with flair though the singing sometimes falters and Mark Robinson as Horse gives the show a much needed kick with his opening number ‘Big Black Man’. However it is Stuart Hall who steals the show with a likeable and endearing performance as Dave, the big man with fear and self doubt, Hall never missed a beat. The rest of the cast make an impression but the lack of singing and acting experience is at times, obvious.

From a production standpoint it could not have been better, the sets by Dave Bamford and Doug Wooller are fantastic and evocative and the orchestra sound better than most West End touring shows.

After a bumpy start, the show lets it all hang out in all its glory, Problematic? Yes, but still a fun night out. And for those of you who are interested, they really do go the Full Monty (with clever lighting of course).

- Craig Hepworth


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