The Mayflower, Southampton until 7 November 2015
Then touring until 5 December
I’d heard great things about The Full Monty, had seen it a couple of years ago at The Mayflower and, as it was my birthday, I was ready to be entertained – so did it live up to my high expectations?
Gary Lucy (Gaz), Fraser Kelly (Nathan) and Martin Miller (Dave) open the play by breaking and entering into their old steelworks in order to “free” a steel girder so that they can sell it for some much needed cash. The chemistry between these three was apparent right from the beginning.
For those that haven’t seen the 1997 film, this is set in 1980’s Sheffield, the home of steel and hit by Thatcher’s governmental reform leaving desperation, depravity and heartache in its wake. How is it that a play telling a story such as this can be one of immense fun and heartwarming as well? This was undoubtedly down to the direction of Jack Ryder and calibre of the actors involved and on this occasion it was an unmitigated success. Lucy lead the cast superbly and demonstrated the right amount of cheekiness and depth of character that this role commands. Lucy and Kelly’s scenes showed a fathers love and unwavering adoration, no matter what his father does, were really heartwarming to see. Lucy illustrated his fight to see his son and raise money for maintenance really well and at times his tenderness and desperation were palpable.
Martin Miller (Dave) gave a strong performance and really made you feel the loss of his self-esteem, and feeling of worthlessness due to his weight and lack of job. The scenes between Miller and wife Jean played by Emily Aston were particularly well acted.
There were some real laugh out loud moments with great engagement by Rupert Hill (Guy) Louis Emerick (Horse) and Andrew Dunn (Gerald). One of my favourites was the whole audition scene, which lightened and gave pace to the first act.
The play’s design by Robert Jones was inspired and gave an excellent backdrop to the strong cast performances.
The second act continued and gathered momentum as we head towards the anticipated “iconic” ending which the audience was more than ready for.
Photo Credit Matt Crockett
So did they do “The Full Monty” or did they leave their hats on? Well you’ll have to go and see for yourselves but if you are thinking of doing so I’d be quick to book those tickets, judging by the packed house last night there aren’t many to spare.
Returning to my original question did it live up to my high expectation? Yes it did, I immensely enjoyed the evening. The cast, the accompanying music, the set and that final scene all added to make for unforgettable birthday experience. Catch it at the Mayflower this week or on tour.
The Full Monty – The Mayflower Southampton until 7th November Then Touring