Ready to go The Full Monty one last time in show’s home city of Sheffield
The time has arrived; the lights are dimming, the rip-away costumes are pressed, and this is your last chance to see them dance...
The cast of The Full Monty is preparing to hang up its blue hats for good, but not without one last outing – in more ways than one – in Sheffield.
It may be the last ever tour of this particular production, but there’s no doubt that this is the story that keeps on giving, over 20 years after the film version originally shot to fame in 1997.
And after more than two decades stealing hearts and awards, and seeing many an item of clothing removed on stages across the globe, such is the show’s ongoing popularity that as fast as one tour gets underway, producers David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers are compelled to map out the next. Few shows can sustain that level of repetition, but then this is no ordinary show.
“It is special,” insists Gary Lucy, who is best known for his roles in Hollyoaks and Footballers’ Wives.
The role of Gaz is also one that’s as comfortable to Lucy as his birthday suit, as he has starred in almost every ‘Monty’ tour to date, and understands better than most just how readily people fall for this funny, poignant and bitter-sweet story.
“People really love it. From proper theatregoers in Cambridge to Blackpool hen parties, everyone has an absolute ball. It is a gift of a role for me.”
Louis Emerick, recently on our screens in Coronation Street, agrees: “This is the third tour for me and it really is a special show. It is a great story that still resonates now.”
Telling the story of six out-of-work steelworkers from Sheffield who put on a strip show to raise much-needed cash, the film went on to become one of the most successful British movies of all time. Writer of both the screenplay and the stage script, Simon Beaufoy is also the talent behind The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Slumdog Millionaire. Joe Gill (familiar to Emmerdale viewers as Finn Barton) believes the play’s credibility is key to its success.
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“It is my first time on the show, but everyone knows how iconic it is and what a culture it has, so they come knowing that they will enjoy it,” says Joe.
Another ‘Monty’ virgin, James Redmond has done lengthy stints in Hollyoaks and Casualty but has never toured in a stage play before. However, that doesn’t stop him recognising the show’s broad appeal.
“We can all relate to it and it is very moving,” he agrees.
“The poverty these guys lived in; Maggie Thatcher encouraged them to buy their council houses and then closed the steelworks so they were desperate. It’s a heart-warming story that still feels relevant today. Because half of us voted remain and half voted leave none of us know what the future holds.”
And then there’s the nudity of course, there’s no shying away from the fact that the boys get utterly starkers onstage.
Louis laughs: “Three rehearsals in, we hardly knew other, but we just did it, although we all looked each other firmly in the eye!”
Gary adds: There is no better show on the road. Come along and I’ll prove it to you.”
That sounds like a challenge, Mr Lucy. And one that we’d be delighted to accept.