The Full Monty – Live in Liverpool: Review
They may not be young, they may not be pretty, they may not be right good, but they’re here, and for one week only they’re going the Full Monty.
“They paid ten quid to see a waving willy.” Says a middle-aged, well-built, redundant steel-worker from Sheffield.
Sure we did. And so did thousands of others who have been packing out the Empire Theatre every night this week. We knew we weren’t expecting the Chippendales, but who knew that a group of six men that tick the aforementioned criteria could provide such wholesome evening entertainment?
The booming heart of global steel production has begun its demise at the hands of Margaret Thatcher through the closures of steelworks, mills and forges all around the city. Thousands have lost their jobs, including Gaz Schofield (Gary Lucy) who now resorts to ‘steeling’ pieces of scrap metal to pay child support for his son, with his friend Dave (Kai Owen). The two men accumulate a group of friends by saving suicidal colleagues and making friends at the local job centre, and become aware of the absolute fortune that passing strip-tease company, Chippendales, must be earning from sell-out crowds of women in even just one night. The decision is made to form Sheffield stripper super group: ‘The Buns of Steel’, and to massively reel the crowds in by going ‘full Monty’.
With a plot that seamlessly translates into the modern day, The Full Monty approaches societal issues such as unemployment, mental health, and male body positivity. Writer, Simon Beaufoy approaches each theme with a tender outlook, blending comic relief into crucial attributes of the male human condition. Beaufoy shines a light into the fragilities of the male mind that are frequently found to be left unspoken.
The diverse group of human bodies on stage emanated confidence that no doubt empowered the group themselves as actors, as well as members of the audience, resulting in a totally uplifting performance.
Although Essex-born Lucy’s attempt at a Sheffield accent was slightly distracting at times, the overall performance of cast members wholly represented the population of the 1970’s Steel City.
The members of ‘The Buns of Steel’ regard hardship and economic rigour, as generated by the hand of a corrupt government, with humour and utmost optimism, leaving something to be desired in our own political climate.
The Full Monty is being performed at Liverpool Empire Theatre until Saturday 23rd March and tickets can be found below for an intensely fun (and classy) night*:
*Warning: Side effects of the final strip-performance of The Full Monty may result in screaming like an excitable middle-aged woman.**
** Including men.