The QT

Wednesday 19 June 2024
19/06/2024

The Full Monty

More than 25 years since the smash hit movie, The Full Monty has still got a big place in people’s hearts. SaraJane March reports back from Newcastle Theatre Royal
Nicholas Prasad, Leyon Stolz-Hunter, Jake Quickenden, Bill Ward and Neil Hurst in The Full Monty. Credit: Ellie Kurttz

Hats off to the talented ensemble daring to deliver The Full Monty to Newcastle Theatre Royal audiences this week.

Mark Goucher and David Pugh’s co-production sees a clearly close-knit cast deliver Simon Beaufoy’s adapted screenplay with an intimacy and sensitivity that is certainly worthy of the standing ovation it received.

A big-hearted performance packed full of comedy, tragedy and pathos (and some very funny one-liners too) offers Newcastle actor, Bill Ward – familiar to many for his long-running soap drama appearances and more recently ITV’s The Hunt for Raoul Moat – a stint on home turf.

Here, he plays Gerald, one of a group of blokes who find themselves forming an unlikely male stripper troupe for one night only to make some much-needed cash.

Bill Ward (left) and Neil Hurst as Gerald and Dave in The Full Monty. Credit: Ellie Kurttz

Ward’s stage presence and deliberate diction combine to brilliantly portray proud Gerald’s torment alongside the effortless comic timing of Neil Hurst as Dave whose performance could be filed under ‘crowd pleaser’ from the off.

Rowan Poulton, 10, makes his acting debut as Gaz’s son, Nathan and stops the show with impeccable timing and controlled delivery when telling his struggling father to ‘get out there and get on with it’.

It’s a long wait (well into the first act) for the show-stopping performance from Ben Onwukwe as Horse – anyone who has seen the film will require no further explanation. Anyone who hasn’t can dip into their imagination.

The script stays true to the 1997 movie’s themes of unemployment, men’s mental health issues and fathers’ rights – blending belly laughs with real and palpable trauma, the latter signalled by clearly signed suicide warnings around the theatre.

It’s clear from audience reaction to the much-loved characters, The Full Monty is just as beloved as ever. Hot stuff indeed.

The Full Monty is at Newcastle Theatre Royal until Saturday (March 2). Visit www.theatreroyal.co.uk or call the box office on 0191 232 7010 for tickets.

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