For the past year Daniel Evans' production of The Full Monty has been playing to sold out audiences all around the UK, and now the play, about a group of unemployed steel workers who form a troupe of male strippers, has transferred to the West End.
Too often I see West End shows which aren’t up to scratch and have opened in the West End too soon, but it was an utter delight to see a show which is ready and raring for a triumphant West End run. The Full Monty is a polished piece of theatre which runs smoothly with a fantastic design, cast and script.
This brand new play version of The Full Monty is not to be confused with the musical. The play takes The Full Monty back to its roots, which is hardly surprising as it is written by Simon Beaufoy from his own screenplay. Whilst fans of the film will not be disappointed, The Full Monty shines as a piece of theatre in its own right.
It’s important to remember that The Full Monty is not just about six men taking their clothes off. It is a play which centres around six out-of-work, struggling men who hit rock bottom and, for some, their situation will prove very relatable. This is why the piece appeals to men as well as women. The Full Monty is a play wives will drag their husbands along to, but both will end up enjoying the performance tremendously.
The finale is quite something; I have never witnessed such a wild atmosphere in a theatre! It’s amazing to see such an epic response from an audience who really get behind the characters and follow the play passionately from start to finish. A funny one-liner is never too far away.
The six leads give strong performances and have very natural chemistry. They are subtle and touching or hysterically funny when required. The cast’s enjoyment is infectious; when I saw the show they seemed to be having just as much fun as the audience. It’s great to see such an iconic film translate so well on stage. Now seems like the perfect time to welcome The Full Monty to the West End, the show promises to wipe away your winter blues and provide more than just a wild night out.
Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins
Photo Credit: Hugo Glendinning
The Full Monty runs at the Noel Coward Theatre until Saturday 14th June 2014.