Event: The Full Monty at the Wyvern

29 October 2018

 

The Full Monty at the Wyvern

The Full Monty

The tragi-comic Full Monty began life as a 1997 (yes – THAT long ago!) British comedy film set in Sheffield, Yorkshire with a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy, The film starts with a travelogue of a 1972 Sheffield and tells the story of six unemployed men – four of them former steel workers. The men decide to form a male striptease act  (à la Chippendale dancers – remember them??) in an effort to raise enough money to:

a. Get out of Sheffiled

b. Enable Gaz, the main character, to get access to his son.

Gaz declares that their show will be better than the Chippendales dancers because they will go “the full monty“—strip all the way—hence the film’s title.

The Themes

A comedy it may well be but the film tackles difficult subjects.  We now have a different political and working landscape – the old concept of the ‘job for life’ died with the wholesale destruction of first the steel industry and then  the mining industry. Yet, the underpinning themes of unemployment, father’s rights, depression and suicide, impotence, sexuality, body image and working class culture remain relevant and still have something to say. Arguably more than they ever did.

The Full Monty Play

Buy your Full Monty Tickets here: https://swindontheatres.co.uk/Online/tickets-the-full-monty-swindon-2018

I was intrigued to see how this stage production would play out – see what I did there? The backstory to the Full Monty is my heritage. I come from a mining area not so very far from Sheffield. My ex-husband was a miner. My daughter grew up in the middle of the 1980s miner’s strike. Indeed her first word was ‘picket’. True story. (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/picket )

So I know this world first hand. And I even have an amusing anecdote involving an RSJ beam. But that’s best kept for the memoirs.

The film, so far as I can recall, behind its comedic aspects, conveyed well the desperation of these people’s lives. Everything they knew, had known for generations, and were fiercely proud of, was gone. They had to adjust to a whole new reality. One where women were no longer full-time housewives and mums, but had jobs -albeit often it was low paid cleaning/shop work etc – while the men were unemployed. As it says in the programme ‘The Full Monty captures that moment when a way of life that had seemed eternal was gone for good.’

If I have a critique of this stage production, it’s that I don’t think one gets enough of a sense from it, of how very awful it was for those people in that part of England, back then. ‘A lot of men were wandering around lost, not really knowing what was going on, not just with their life but with their city.’ (Simon Beaufoy – playwright). That may well be because I’m still, 30 odd years on, too, too close to it all. I guess too it’s the nature of the beast – the confines of a stage production as opposed to the broad brush of a film. Or a little of each. I’m not sure.

In rehearsal

But that does mean the play is not worth seeing? Hell no it doesn’t! Does that mean I didn’t enjoy the production? No – absolutely not! I most surely did.

It’s fabulous, raucous, mildly raunchy, potty-mouthed fun.  YES – there’s lots of swearing as befits the setting and the subject. It really wouldn’t work at all delivered in received pronunciation

The staging rather neatly dealt with the film’s opening travelogue – I liked that. There’s lots of laugh in it – and goodness knows we need a reason to laugh eh? For those familiar with Victoria Wood’s work there’s a familiar face too. This is a great night out with a story that is sad and funny, yet ultimately uplifting as the central characters begin to come to terms with their new reality and get to do their performance.

 But – the question on everyone’s lips is surely: ‘Do they actually do the Full Monty?’ Well – that would be telling eh? So if you really want to know – buy a ticket and go see it. It’s a great night! 

Buy your Full Monty Tickets here: https://swindontheatres.co.uk/Online/tickets-the-full-monty-swindon-2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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