Friday, 21 April 2017

“The Full Monty” by Heanor Musical Theatre Company
Mansfield Palace Theatre
In this musical stage version adapted from the 1997 British film of the same name, six unemployed Buffalo steelworkers, low on both cash and prospects, decide to present a strip act at a local club after seeing their wives' enthusiasm for a touring company of Chippendales.
One of them, Jerry, declares that their show will be better than the Chippendales dancers because they'll go "the full monty"—strip all the way. As they prepare for the show, working through their fears, self-consciousness, and anxieties, they overcome their inner demons and find strength in their camaraderie.
For anyone who has lived under a stone since the film’s release, this may appear as being a play directed mainly at women with plenty of “eye candy” on show, but it runs so much deeper than this.
OK the show wouldn’t be “The Full Monty” without a certain amount of flesh flashing, and you must take your hat off to the male members for exposing their talents, but the script also takes on depression, suicide, pride, homosexuality and parental responsibilities as well as conquering demons and fears. The women in this musical also play an important and vital role, because if it wasn’t for the
women, the men wouldn’t have taken such a bold move.
You will leave the Mansfield Palace Theatre on an absolute high because this is such a great feel good piece of theatre, made all the better by an absolutely brilliant cast. And a big cast it is as well!
Paul Mills (Jerry), Matt Fry (Dave), Ben ヅ Jones (Malcolm), Ben Sherwin (Harold), Alex Mclaren (Horse) and Tom Lucking (Ethan) all present their very different characters in such a way that the audience fall in love with the characters and get behind them every step of the way.
Jerry will do anything to keep contact with his son Nathan, played with great natural ability by Bailey West and to get the money needed to pay Jerry's wife, Pam (Katie Ward).
Dave you immediately empathise with but has a great sense of humour, masking the problems he is having at home with his wife Georgie (Katy Gaskin).
Malcolm wins the sympathy vote as he is saved by Dave and Jerry at the start and then gives a lot of the comedy to the group with his special dancing technique!
Harold whips the choreography for the group into shape, but he too has kept a big secret from his wife, Vicki (Adela Green).
Horse also has a funky way of dancing but why do they call him "horse"? Mmmm I wonder!
Ethan brings a certain glimmer to the dance act in a BIG way!
Brilliant characters all and the actors all looked like they were having the time of their lives, and why shouldn't they because this is such a brilliant musical.
Starting differently to the stage version of the film, we start off in a club where the girls are being entertained by professional male dancer "Buddy" played by Simon Ward, and the audience get to see a taster of what's to come in the flesh stakes.
You'll notice other differences in this musical version of the film from the stage version of the film. There's no "Hot Stuff", or "You Can Leave Your Hat On" but you won't miss them because the soundtrack is wonderful. You'll go home with "Let It Go" resounding around your head. Plus there's the beautiful duet of "You Walk With Me" by Ben and Tom.
Wonderful choreography by Laura-Jane Jacobs and brilliantly directed by Kim Harris, keeping all the
comedy elements as well as some really emotive parts to counter the fun.
The music was very clear and powerful, directed by Lisa Mills which was also mixed well with the vocals.the nine piece band were sounding on top form.
Very good use of projection which didn't over power the set design (Kim Harris and Paul Young) and enhanced the visual side of the show.
there was a slight danger of the audience turning it into a panto session but hey, they were enjoying what they were seeing and obviously wanted to make themselves heard. At one stage I'm sure I saw Matt ever so slightly lose it with a snigger when he asked "who wanted to see this dancing on stage?" and a couple of the ladies yelled "We do".
All in the name of fun.
What more can I say, I love this musical and it's got a self affirming quality about it. it deals with serious issues but as an under current, always giving the audience what they want. A great night of entertainment with a bit of sauciness thrown in. And I imagine that many of the ladies last night were praying for the lights to blow a fuse at the integral part of the show. Sorry but that may be more than the lighting director's life may be worth!
“The Full Monty” is at the Mansfield Palace Theatre until Saturday 22 April 2017

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