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Bare-faced cheek makes big impression!

It's a well-known story – unemployed Sheffield steel workers, thrown on the scrapheap by the collapse of their industry, form a sub-Chippendales troupe of male strippers to make a few quid.

The Full Monty took the big screen by storm in 1997 when it stole the nation’s hearts. The stage adaptation nearly two decades later was always going to have a big act to follow. But that it did.

Both versions come from the pen of Simon Beaufoy, who captures the journey cleverly winding its way between tragedy and comedy.

A realistic derelict steelworks set at the Birmingham Hippodrome works well, made to function as the street outside the club, the job centre, and even the foyer of the local Conservative Club.

The motley dance crew is made up of ringleader Gaz (played by Gary Lucy), who is desperate to earn some cash to fund his custody battle over his son Nathan; Lomper (Anthony Lewis), a suicidal homosexual; Dave (Kai Owen) who nurses a beer-belly and an inferiority complex; Gerald (Andrew Dunn) an aspirational Conservative who has lacked the courage to tell his wife he lost his job – six months ago! It’s Guy, played by Chris Fountain claims one of the biggest comedy moments of the night when, asked what he can bring to the dance troupe, displays his obvious credentials!

Raucous laughter too for Louis Emerick whose portrayal of Horse – the ageing arthritic who could still bust a move – was irresistible.

The audience become properly invested in the characters’ stories on stage with the central thread of Gary’s touching relationship with his son (played by Felix Yates) handled believably. Felix was more than confident in the role.

The, unsurprisingly, predominantly female audience was definitely in the mood for some bare-faced cheeky comedy – and they weren’t left disappointed.

And for those wondering whether the play stayed true to the film’s bare-all finale. . . well that would be telling!

Grab your girlfriends and go and see The Full Monty if you can. But be quick – it only plays at the Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday. Tickets are available from the box office at: www.birminghamhippodrome.com

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