The Full Monty (Tour-Plymouth Theatre Royal)

It’s HOT stuff all right.

The Full Monty is a good fun, thoughtful romp.

Cast of The Full Monty playing at Plymouth until Saturday 22nd November
Cast of The Full Monty playing at Plymouth until Saturday 22nd November

Making the most of additional running time, award-winning original screenwriter Simon Beaufoy has produced a faithful rendering of the iconic 1997 hit film including some extra character development.

Robert Jones‘ tremendous set is industrial, multifunctional and atmospheric moving the action from abandoned steel mill to alleyway to Con Club with the drop of a screen, and he uses the upper levels to great effect.

Sarah Bird CDG has excelled with casting: Gary Lucy is an inspired choice as cash-strapped Gaz on a mission to make good arrears of maintenance payments so he can see his son (a chirpy Raif Clarke but also played by three other lads in rotation).

Lucy is believable as the charismatic bad boy whose ‘Chippendales plus a bit’ money-making venture is the backbone (or should that be the abs?) of the play.

Fleshing out the hilarious premise is the Steel Buns line-up – pompous, man-with-a-big-secret Gerald (Andrew Dunn); Louis Emerick as Horse, the arthritic hip-shaker with a small secret; the whole package Guy (Rupert Hill); depressed lumpen Dave (beautifully characterised by Martin Miller) and Bobby Schofield as the socially inept Lomper.

And there’s a stalwart, versatile company of eight which populates the stage with barmen, police, mums, stripper, wives and more.

Pathos and comedy – there’s not a weak link to be seen.

The Full Monty is not a Girls Night Out-like venture of weak storyline strung together to accommodate sexy dancing and gratuitous nudity but instead a tight, poignant glimpse of proud men emasculated by unemployment visiting issues such as impotence, body image, homosexuality, custody and poverty cleverly crafted to keep the attention.

Though there is sexy dancing and nudity … and gnomes…too.

Excellent laugh and cry out loud stuff, I could happily watch it all over again.