TOUGH times are back in Sheffield as recession bites hard. The genius of this play is that it manages to make an audience rock with laughter about the desperate days in the 1980s when proud men were thrown on the scrapheap by steelworks closures.
A case in point is a scene where Lomper (Craig Gazey) tries to hang himself from a crane called Margaret (after Thatcher) in the place where he once worked. He is saved by Gaz (Kenny Doughty) and Dave (Roger Morlidge), only there to steal a girder.
It is brilliantly funny but all the humour comes from sympathy with the characters, who have to ditch their dignity to escape the job club by learning to become male strippers.
Simon Beaufoy, who adapted the play from his own screenplay for the hit 1997 film, told me that the humour of redundant steelworkers he met at the time was what inspired him.
Kenny Doughty is perfect as bad boy Gaz but is given a run for his money by the rest of the group, completed by Simon Rouse (Gerald), Sidney Cole (Horse) and Kieran O’Brien (Guy).
There are plenty of strong women too, including Rachel Lumberg as Dave’s wife Jean and Tracy Brabin playing multiple roles. Sadly, though, Caroline Carver as Gaz’s ex-wife Mandy, kept losing her accent.
Young Travis Caddy was outstanding as Gaz’s son Nathan.
Daniel Evans did another fabulous job of directing and Robert Jones’s versatile set really created the right atmosphere.
And yes, you do see the ‘full Monty’, although very cleverly staged. I take my hat off to them all.
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