Review: The Full Monty at De Montfort Hall

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Admittedly I was a bit apprehensive about seeing The Full Monty live on stage.

The thought of being surrounded by hordes of excitable females was a somewhat daunting prospect.

Us men were vastly outnumbered so it was comforting to hear a male voice making the pre-show announcement.

But that was short-lived.

‘Good evening ladies and gentlemen and the five gentlemen I’ve seen tonight!”

I may have been among the male minority but by the end of what turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable show I was certainly among the vast majority of the audience leaving with big smiles on their faces.

But for me it wasn’t just about the laugh-out-loud moments. It was the clever mixture of joy and sadness as well as the bond quickly built up with the characters, with the six leads in particular giving strong performances, that kept me gripped.

As a big fan of the hit 1997 film I was looking forward to seeing how the stage show compared - and I wasn’t disappointed. All of the iconic scenes and memorable moments from the film are there and delivered with aplomb.

There were no weak links in the cast and the chemistry between them all brought added enjoyment.

Playing the lead role of wise-cracking Gaz is Eastenders, The Bill and Hollyoaks’ star Gary Lucy whose portrayal of the out-of-work but desperate to be a good dad character pulls at the heart strings.

Other members of ‘The Buns of Steel’ are played by other TV favourites including former Brookside star Louis Emerick who plays ‘Horse’ - his stripper exploits despite his dodgy hip evoking huge laughter and cheers from the crowd!

One minute you’re in stitches after a stand-out comic moment but the next scene drags you back to the jobless steelworkers’ grim reality of unemployment, debt and sense of despair in post industrial Sheffield.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the story - and I haven’t even mentioned the classic toe-tapping songs or the famous strip routine finale which, as expected, was a big hit with the ladies.

Eyes glued to the stage, it certainly wasn’t a show they’ll be forgetting for a while.

The Full Monty is running at De Montfort Hall until Saturday. Tickets are limited so you’ll need to be quick. Call the box office on (0116) 2333111 or visit www.demontforthall.co.uk