Review: The Full Monty at Birmingham Hippodrome

by Dave Massey

Please note this play contains themes of depression and suicide.

The Full Monty at Birmingham Hippodrome

by Simon Beaufoy, Directed by Rupert Hill

The Full Monty is flashing its bum in Birmingham all this week at the Hippodrome and is well worth seeing! Set in the late 90s in Sheffield this is a comedy drama with lots of well known music tracks.

The Full Monty Cast at Birmingham Hippodrome
The Full Monty Cast at Birmingham Hippodrome

Gaz (Gary Lucy) and Dave (Kai Owen) are trying to nick girders from their old job at a Steel Mill with Gaz’s son Nathan (Fraser Kelly) being a lookout, Nathan is spotted by his Mother, Gaz’s ex-wife Mandy (Amy Thompson) who tells Gaz he still owes maintenance money for Nathan’s upbringing and that he’s a bad influence on Nathan.

Later Gaz and Dave are outside the local working men’s club where they discover American male strip revue show The Chippendales have been performing. Confused about what ladies might see in these polished, plucked and preened men who spend hours in the gym, Gaz realises that there’s money to be made from hosting their very own male strip night. But first they’ll need to find some men who are willing to take part.

Returning to the Steel Mill, they discover former canteen worker Lomper (Joe Gill) who is trying to hang himself, as well as depression over having no job and seemingly no career, Lomper is also trying to confront his own sexuality, Gaz and Dave take Lomper under their wing.

The Full Monty - Gary Lucy as Gaz with Kai Owen as Dave
The Full Monty – Gary Lucy as Gaz with Kai Owen as Dave

The main characters are rounded out by Gerald (Andrew Dunn) who is the old forman of the steel mill, plus Guy (James Redmond) and Horse (Louis Emerick) who don’t appear until near the end of the first half as they audition for the strip night.

As this is a play based on a film, the characters are not all introduced in the traditional manner as each introduction forward the plot. This is a different way to tell the story and allows you to discover the layers to each character as we make our way through.

The set is based on the steel mill on the upper floor while the ground floor serves as many locations from the night club, to the job centre and a conservative club where the men try to learn some dance moves.

Then of course there is getting their kit off, which the mainly female audience are more than happy to cheer on. It’s great to see such a passionate fun show in Birmingham that isn’t afraid to tackle tough themes, there are many laugh out moments from brushes with the law to getting trapped near women on a night out at the Chippendales. There’s also some genuinely touching moments as James Redmond’s Guy helps Joe Gill’s Lomper accept his sexuality.

For me the stand out is Kai Owen as Dave, Kai communicates Dave’s feeling of weakness and vulnerability whilst Dave also supports all of the other characters.

The Full Monty Cast

A fun and cheeky snapshot of how to move on from difficult times. I’d recommend this for a great night out any day of the week!

The Full Monty is at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday 10th November. Book tickets here:

This isn’t a sponsored post. #BrumHour saw The Full Monty at  the invitation of Birmingham Hippodrome.