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Based on the screenplay he wrote for the 1997 film of the same name, Simon Beaufoy's The Full Monty is not to be confused with the Americanised musical adaptation set in the US city of Buffalo. The award-winning play version takes place in the UK, in Sheffield (as does the original film), and tells the tale of six unemployed men (four of them formerly employed at the closed-down steel works) as they battle with issues including depression, suicidal thoughts and philosophical questions about masculinity.

All six of the fellas are facing a seemingly grim future. They need to find work to pay their bills and support their families. Despite their fairly average physiques (with the exception, perhaps, of Guy, played by Jake Quickenden), they decide to try their luck as a male striptease act...

Although it’s not a musical, the show boasts a fabulous soundtrack, with time-honoured classics You Sexy Thing (by Hot Chocolate), You Can Leave Your Hat On (Tom Jones) and Hot Stuff (Donna Summer) all featuring.

I love how this story unfolds: how the men finally realise that they have all the same body hang-ups and insecurities as everyone else; the way it highlights the fact that men and women worry about the same things; and how it shows that it takes confidence, courage and nerves of (Sheffield) steel to step outside your comfort zone.

The cast in this production work together perfectly, excelling both individually and collectively as their characters face up to life’s challenges. They were clearly having fun on stage, which always enhances the experience for the audience, who last night were raucous, hugely appreciative and more than happy to round off proceedings by giving the performers a standing ovation. 

This heartwarming and uplifting tale is also a fabulous flesh fest - but the ultimate question is this: do the guys finally go the Full Monty?... 

You’ll just have to go and see the show yourself to find out! 

Five stars

The Full Monty was reviewed by Sue Hull on Tuesday 30 January at The Alexandra, Birmingham, where it shows until Saturday 3 February

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