Audience left wondering if they had seen it all
SIMON Beaufoy's play based on the tremendously successful film may not be high elegant cultural theatre, but robustly presented it is first class entertainment. The balance between the poignancy in the lives of this sextet of Sheffield workers thrown on the scrap heap during the 1970s, and the broad fun generated by their attempts to form a male stripper act was expertly judged by director Daniel Evans.
One moment the audience was roaring with laughter at the antics of these unlikely Chippendales, and the next letting forth an audible sigh of sympathy as Kenny Doughty's Jack the Lad Gaz is forgiven once again by his son Nathan, a bright spirited performance from Travis Caddy, in spite of letting him down for the umpteenth time. The pathetic attempts by Roger Morlidge's big ungainly Dave to slim down, only to find that Rachel Lumberg, his equally large-framed wife, loves him as he is, brought another big sympathetic response from the audience.
Some of the audience became so involved that they cried out suggestions to the actors In pantomime this would have been ideal, but when you are trying to create real people it can be dangerously off putting. Such interruptions were never going to upset seasoned campaigners like Simon Rouse, as former executive Gerald.
Designer Robert Jones came up with the inventive idea of using a disused factory, which included a working crane hoist, as the basic set and with the minimum of fuss slipping other locations into the action. The result was a production that bounced along at a cracking pace, while at the same time giving us a close look at the grime and despair left behind by the closure of the big manufacturing factories.
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As they left the audience was still buzzing with the excitement of those final few seconds when they had seen the boys perform The Full Monty – or had they?