The Full Monty – Cheltenham Everyman REVIEW

This may have been one of the most shocking productions I’ve ever seen, but not for the reason you are thinking of…

I’ll say this first, and then I’ll tell you why… Even if you don’t think a show about strippers is for you, I urge you to go and see it as you won’t be disappointed.

I have never seen the film The Full Monty. So I was really only imagining this show to be a bit of a giggle. All I was expecting was to have a good old laugh, hear a lot of female screaming and be entertained, and I was totally okay with that. I thought that was what this show is all about. Little did I know there is so much more than meets the eye.

As I take my seat I flick through the programme and press pack, as pictured. You can see why my expectations were met when it came to the marketing and advertising. It’s hilarious and cheeky and everybody loved it. I will wear my badge with pride!

the full monty
The audience around me was mostly women, a few husbands and one very sorry looking teenage boy who didn’t quite realise what he had let himself in for. So the marketing may have portrayed this production to be a little more shallow rather than full of substance, but it certainly put bums on seats.

The element that shocked me the most and that I was most impressed with was the characterisation. Each one of the six main guys, as well as the women in the cast were wonderfully developed. By the end, I felt I knew them well and was really rooting for them. That is down to clever casting, brilliant acting and ingenious direction from Rupert Hill.

The chemistry, in particular between Gary Lucy as Gaz and Kai Owen as Dave, was expert. Their relationship played out before your eyes and you couldn’t help but be sucked in. Gary Lucy also strongly lead the ensemble of guys through the play and was a fantastic protagonist.

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This production has done such justice to the brilliant storyline as well as enhancing the comedic side further, with brilliant slapstick moments and quick wit comedy, especially when you don’t expect it. Their preservation of more serious and more emotional moments was impeccable and it really took the play to that next level.

Team all of this with music of the time that makes you nostalgic and this production is brilliant. Tom Jones, Hot Chocolate, Donna Summer and James Brown were amongst the tunes that kept the boys grooving and grinding as well as aiding seamless scene transitions.

Of course, then came the moment everyone was waiting for. The boys did not disappoint, not setting a foot wrong and giving us those iconic moves that everyone can recognise. The cheering was so loud you could feel the vibrations through the floor. They absolutely nailed it, and it was the perfect end to a gorgeous production.

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As this was the first stop on the final tour of this production of The Full Monty, at the end we were treated to a lovely speech from the producer, David Hugh and got the chance to see the final moment one last time. Talk about leave your hat on, they left the lights on, creating this amazing moment and giving the audience exactly what they wanted.

This show is more feel good than you can imagine, especially in a time of body positivity. The incredible team behind it have managed to balance the cheeky side and humorous elements with some really emotional and poignant moments. The characters each pulled at your heart strings and you felt connected to them and their struggles. This is so much more than a play that you see if you want to see some men give it a wiggle. As an audience we came expecting one thing, and left with a whole lot more.

LtoR Andrew Dunn Joe Gill James Redmond Gary Lucy Louis Emerick & kair owen in The Full Monty credit Matt Crockett

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