Thursday, 28 March 2013

The Full Monty

Edinburgh Festival Theatre
4 stars
When it comes, the climax of Simon Beaufoy's stage adaptation of his 1997 film about a group of unemployed Sheffield steel-workers who find emancipation by becoming strippers is as hen night-tastic as you expect it to be. The wolf whistles began some two and a half hours earlier, from the moment Kenny Doughty stepped onstage as Gaz, the laddish everyman who breaks into the deserted factory where he and his mate Dave used to work to nick girders to flog for scrap. Also left behind is a blue crane named Margaret, after the woman who effectively put a nation of heavy industry workers on the dole.

Meanwhile, sisters are doing it for themselves watching The Chippendales, which inspires Gaz to enlist a troupe of his own to make a few bob. What Gaz, Dave and their motley crew of ne'er do wells actually achieve isn't just a rediscovery of their own personal mojos, but a reawakening of a collective spirit through the power of dance, brilliantly choreographed here by Frantic Assembly's Steven Hoggett.

On one level, Daniel Evans' high-spirited production is as one-dimensional as a piece of John Godber populism, and one wishes some of the cast would stop trying so hard to be funny, but beyond this there is pathos and politics too. Here are men whose very identity has been crushed, and who have become emasculated to breaking point, but who find the sort of solidarity that's so desperately needed again today. Ultimately, it's the money shot that counts here, but this is a brash fanfare for the common man that's deep as well as macho.

The Herald, March 28th 2013

ends

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