Hull New Theatre – until 19th November 2022
Reviewed by Catherine McWilliams
One Off Productions delivered a slick performance of The Full Monty last night at Hull New Theatre, providing a great night out.
With the book by Terrence McNally and lyrics by David Yazbek, The Full Monty is a musical based around Simon Beaufoy’s classic and much loved 1979 film of the same name. The location has changed from Sheffield to Buffalo New York State, but the story remains the same, the steel plant has closed and the local men are without prospects or hope. Given this scenario, one would imagine that this would be a depressing watch but this is not the case at all, this production is full of joy and laughter. The story revolves around Jerry Lukowski’s (Russell Fallon) big idea to form a group of local men to strip, for one night only, at the local club. This is so he can get the money together to pay his back child support and avoid losing his son Nathan (Joseph Walker). An unlikely group come together and, in their attempts to learn to dance, we are drawn into their lives, and as one the audience were rooting for them to succeed.
Russell Fallon’s Jerry is the lynchpin of the story and he played an utterly convincing part as the leader of the group, cajoling the other men into joining but also showing the despair of his character. Ryan Wilson provided the perfect foil to Jerry as his best friend Dave Bukatinsky, he oozed the insecurities of this character as he veered from humour to utter anguish. Russell and Ryan have superb singing voices and came together with David Ross (as Malcolm McGregor) to deliver one of the highlights of the show “Big-Ass Rock”, a song about different ways to commit suicide – one of the funniest things you will ever hear in the theatre! David Ross played Malcolm to perfection as the insecure, reserved Malcolm who still lives with his mum. The remaining members of the group Rory Summers as Harold Nichols, Connor Wilson as Ethan Girard and Charles Chiweshe as Noah (Horse) T. Simmons all delivered superb performances. This group of men are quite something, it takes a great deal of nerve to strip live on stage in front of your local community, as One Off Productions are a local amateur group and as in the musical they were performing, there will have been people they knew in the audience.
The Full Monty also requires strong female characters and the cast delivered here too. Emma Burgess was perfect as Dave’s wife Georgie, working hard and trying to support and encourage her husband. She has a superb voice and her duet with Rachel Broxham (Vicki Nichols) of “You Rule My World” was very touching. Rachel Broxham was excellent as Vicki, totally oblivious of her husband having lost his job. Georgina Garton made an excellent Jeanette A. Burmeister, the pianist (with a past in music) who turns up out of the blue to help the men with their rehearsals. Her timing is superb and she brought even more joy to the proceedings.
The Full Monty is full of fabulous songs that were delivered superbly. The Band led by Musical Director Andy McIntosh were outstanding, as good as any of those that have accompanied recent professional performances at the theatre. Meg Wilson’s choreography for the show was excellent and the performance of “Scrap” was one of my favourites.
One Off Productions may be an amateur group but in no way was this an amateurish performance. Timing was immaculate, it was musically superb and beautifully acted. The Full Monty is definitely one to see, it will make you feel sad one minute and the next you will be belly laughing, a fabulous feel-good experience. Grab some tickets while you can – it may not be “for one night only” but there are certainly not many nights left to experience The Full Monty.