I’ve been out of the game a while. This became apparent to me when, after about half an hour in the theatre last night I realised that this was not the musical I’ve been waiting to see for about 8 years, The Full Monty the Musical…
I was awaiting the theatrical rendition of Big-Ass Rock, the (slightly offensive) oh-so-gleeky song that has had me in creases since a Uni cabaret in 2006. This was no musical. This was a play, adapted from the award-winning 1997 film. Luckily, I was quickly charmed by the script, cast and quirky humour. Just as I had been as a 12 year old, sneaking into the cinema, desperately trying to look older.
This production is new to the West End,having been on tour since starting life in the story’s real home land of Sheffield. The story has retained the main characters, the grim Northern background and the cheeky-unemployed-chappy humour of the film. What we all loved about that classic movie has remained intact.
In fact, for most of the play (even after I’d ceased to mourn the absence of the soundtrack that I’d been listening to all weekend in anticipation…) I was wondering what exactly was the point of putting such a great film on stage. It certainly had a whiff of Billy Elliot, with a Thatcherite-Britain unemployment backdrop, a smart lad seeing clearer than his father and a focus on the supposedly ‘effeminate’ pursuit of dance. The set was also particularly impressive, seamlessly changing from run down steel mill to run down dance hall at the local Conservative Club.
However, it was in the final scene that the real theatrical suitability of this show shone through. As we entered the grotty Sheffield Club for the final showdown, the audience in the Noel Coward quickly morphed into the braying female strip-club punters. The oestrogen levels perceptibly skyrocketed in the stalls, the slightly nervous giggling rose, and we were treated to a great final number…
They may not have been singing ‘Leave Your Hat On,’ but they certainly put in 100% for The Full Monty. Highly recommended.
The Full Monty is on at the Noel Coward Theatre, London until 14 June 2014.