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The Full Monty - The Alexandra Birmingham Review

Reviewed by Bethany Hill
Tickets were gifted in return for an honest review

Looking for a night of hot stuff and heart-warming comedy? Celebrating 25 years since the classic film’s release, a new production of Simon Beaufoy’s The Full Monty by director Michael Gyngell is embarking on a national tour. Bringing down to earth and loveable characters, a soundtrack of classic 90s hits and a tale of both warmth and the occasional tear, the play tells the tale of Gaz and the friends he makes along the way on the journey to dignity and self-acceptance.

Photo by Ellie Kurttz

Down on his luck and longing to prove to his son and ex-wife that he is more than just scraps like the metal he steals, Gaz, played by the loveable Danny Hatchard, decides that he and his pals are going to become male strippers in a last-ditch attempt to earn some cash. Hatchard plays a loveable rogue so well; we see the cheeky chappy but it becomes clear how dearly he loves his son. We also meet his best friend Dave, played by the wonderful Neil Hurst, who is snowed under by low self esteem and marital issues, juggling dieting and job searching. Hurst provides perfect comic timing throughout and delivers some of the funniest lines of the show with a punch.

Lomper, a depressed and secretive security guard that the pair save from himself near the beginning of the play, is played by Nicholas Prasad. Instantly, the audience falls in love with his innocence and self-deprecation and we root for him from the off. Next we meet Gerald, hiding the secret of his unemployment from his lavish-living wife. Bill Ward is instantly likeable in his portrayal; we see the utter heartbreak of how life has treated him as well as the weight of societal pressure on his shoulders. I’ve seen Ward in multiple theatre credits now and each time am blown away by his ability to create such three-dimensional characters. Completing the line up of the boys willing to bare all are Horse, played by Ben Onwukwe, and Guy, played by Jake Quickenden.

Onwukwe’s stellar and comically brilliant dance moves provided the first squeals of excitement of the night, followed closely by those for the very appearance of Quickenden! Both actors brought heart and warmth to the line up and completed the team perfectly. The show’s supporting cast only added to the salt-of-the-earth, Sheffield atmosphere as well as being integral to the show’s staging. A huge special mention HAS to go to the young boy playing Nathan, Rowan Poulton, who at times absolutely stole the show and won the audience’s heart!

Photo by Ellie Kurttz

If you are a fan of the film, and let’s face it who isn’t, then you will be thrilled to hear that all of the iconic moments feature in this production, my absolute favourite being the hot stuff queuing dance scene! And my-oh-my did the audience lap up the show’s finale! There was not a person in the room that wasn’t cheering, shouting and clapping by the time that certain fell following a very clever trick of lighting. The show’s soundtrack had the audience toe-tapping including classics such as What A Feeling, You Sexy Thing and You Can Leave Your Hat On. This soundtrack was also used cleverly within scene changes which were organised by the cast. There were many cleverly design elements and we got a nod to several locations in a clever and well-organised way; a credit to set designer Jasmine Swan.

The thing that strikes me most about this story is that it is about so much more than it first appears. It is not simple a story of men taking off their clothes to a 90’s classic. Instead, it is a touching tale of friendship, of men’s mental health and societal pressures, and about self-acceptance. It is impossible to come away without a smile!


The Full Monty plays at The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham until Saturday 3rd February 2024. Tickets are available from The tour continues with dates booking until Saturday 13th April, visit for the full tour schedule.

Note- the show contains references that some viewers may find upsetting. Due to its complex themes, I would recommend it for ages 12+

Photo by Ellie Kurttz

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