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  • David Robinson

The Full Monty

The Full Monty

The Alexandra Theatre Birmingham

Runs until Saturday 3rd February

Five Stars – ***** “Full throttle and full of heart”

The ultimate girl’s night out, that will have you laughing from the opening line. Based on the Fox Searchlight Pictures Motion Picture, this award-winning play by Simon Beaufoy has been directed by Michael Gyngell and choreographed by Ian West, who have both done a fantastic job in bringing the show to life on stage.

The story has Gaz, played by Danny Hatchard, wanting to get back into work and make some money, to be able to support his son Nathan beautifully and sympathetically portrayed on press night by Rowan Poulton. He therefore comes to the idea of being a male stripper, together with his best friend Dave, played by Neil Hurst. Soon the group grows to 6 men, who are all happy to learn how to dance and take their clothes off in the process. They learn a routine and the grand finale has them doing their show in their local pub on a Friday night. The Alexandra auditorium became that local pub for the night and gave the boys a huge and deserving ovation. Danny Hatchard and Neil Hurst as Gaz and Dave are a great foil for one another and serve up a lovely friendship layered with affection and a good dose of boys’ humour. Indeed, the comedy and camaraderie are very male driven, the audience that were lapping it up were predominantly female. Nicholas Prasad carved out beautifully the struggling Lomper, at a loss in his career path, as they all are thanks to the crumbling steel industry. Bill Ward as Gerald stubbornly attempts to hang on to better days, at the same time as keeping his extravagant wife in the dark about their financial woes. A proud and noble portrayal by Ward. Jake Quickenden has plenty of cheeky fun as Guy a rightful crowd pleaser, full of charm and boldness. Ben Onwukwe is the senior dancer for the team and again capably carves out a crafted character. Dance needs teamwork, and friendship and determination, the cast convey in spades, transporting us from a gloomy disused factory to a sparkling dance floor, and at the time lifting themselves from their dark and depressive lives.

The colours used are quite faded, to recreate the bleak atmosphere the characters faced, following the closing down of the steelworks. Though it is focused on showing the struggle the characters faced back then, there is plenty of room for comedy, fun and humour throughout. A Well-deserved standing ovation at the end not only for the brave dancers but also for a strong supporting cast. Full throttle pace throughout and full of heart.

David Robinson

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