Review of The Full Monty at the Grand Opera House by Julia Pattison

The Full Monty starring Gary Lucy. Photo by Matt Crockett.
The Full Monty starring Gary Lucy. Photo by Matt Crockett.

Play: The Full Monty

Venue: Grand Opera House York

Review by: Julia Pattison

There were obviously some keen Hollyoaks fans in the audience on Press Night; when Gary Lucy, playing Gaz first stepped onto the stage there were appreciative cheers and whoops before he had even said a word!

Was this going to set the tone for the night?

Luckily, this was a show much more than a soap star getting his kit off, but a play that dealt with attempted suicide, depression, self-worth, and many more serious issues, with dark northern humour.

“ It’s a coping mechanism” explains playwright Simon Beaufoy (who also wrote the screen play for the film) “Humour is how you deal with despair if you happen to be from the north of England”.

The combination of Simon’s excellent stage script and the exceptional cast made this a very funny, witty play, that had you empathising with the plight of every character.

A play not to be underestimated.

Set in Sheffield, we meet the main character Gaz (played by Robert Caryle in the 1997 film).

Gary Lucy was perfect for the role; swaggering and cocksure one minute, then vulnerable and desperate as circumstances went against him.

His son Nathan was played by Fraser Kelly, who gave an outstanding performance; the heart-rending scenes between father and son, particularly when Gaz was at his lowest near the end of the play, brought a lump to the throat.

So too, did the scene between Guy (James Redmond) and Lomper (Joe Gill); beautiful sensitive performances from both actors. One woman in the audience involuntarily called out “Ahh” at the end of the scene, expressing what I think we were all feeling.

Kai Owen was most convincing as Gaz’s chubby, comedic best mate, as was Andrew Dunn, playing former-foreman Gerald. Horse, played by Louis Emerick entertained us all with his antics, particularly his audition piece.

A feisty female cast left us in no doubt that these lasses were not to be messed with, but underneath had hearts of gold.

The finale was fantastic – a great dance routine, and lots of razzle-dazzle.

You really felt you’d been on a journey with these lads.

All credit to the lighting technician who was spot on with his timing at the end!

The show runs at the York venue until Saturday 20 October.