The Full Monty, Old Joint Stock Birmingham, 4****: Rod Dungate


The Fully Monty: This stage musical version book by Terrence McNally and score and lyrics by David Yazbek.


Old Joint Stock Theatre, Temple Street, B

0121 200 0946

Runs 2h,45m, one interval, till 1 September

Review: Rod Dungate 9 August 2018



A big show in a small space and bursting with commitment

The shift from the original 1997 film, set in worn-out North of England, dragged down by TThatcherism, to worn down community in the US is an interesting one. The social and econic politics are still there in the group of unemployed men striving to find meaning and respect. However, what really comes to the fore now, is that the show is about body image and self-worth, and the oppression caused by media images of perfect men and women with perfect bodies. I miss the Thaterite criticism, but the replacement is equally valuable.

This is a feel-good story; a group of unemployed men, feeling emasculated by their working spouses, set out to out-Chippendale the Chippendales – but they are real me(an unpleasant element of homophobia creeps in from the men), and they will go the whole way; the Full Monty.

As a music theatre show, this one is strong. The story’s good, the music pulsating and full of energy. But the lyrics stand out – clear, clever and ever extremely witty.

This is a fine ensemble company and the singing is without exception first class. Jerry (Alex Wadham) has a warm and intimate tone, some of the best moments are when he is with his son (Jack Ballard.) There are some excellent eccentric characters; we all loved Horse’s number (Aaron Mwale) and rather stealing the show is Kirsty Cartwright’s Jeanettet – a deliciousy broad creation and Cartwright has a marvellous singing flexibility.

This is a big show in an intimate space. The singing is fine, but, particularly in the first half, the dialogue tends to be thrown loudly between characters rather than shared appropriately within them. As the run continues, maybe this will settle down.

Adam Lacy handles his resources with skill within an economical set, and the choreography (Pippa Lacey) fits the space like a glove – particularly strong in the first half closer.

A Short Note: In my childhood (rather too many years ago) the full Monty was used to describe someone really dressed up, for instance suit with waistcoat, good tie, tie pin, maybe button hold and so on. Not quite over-dressed, but near to it. There is a delicious irony, then, in these characters applying the full Monty to their dance performance!

Ethan Girard: Jack Ballard

Dave Bukatinsky: Oliver Britten

Malcolm MacGregor: Duncan Burt

Georgie Bukatinsky: Sam Carlyle

Jeanette / Estelle: Kirsty Cartwright

Pam Lukowsky: Auriol Hatcher

Noah ‘Horse’ T Simmons: Aaron Mwale

Nathan Lukowsky: James Blake-Butler / Louis Delaney / Lyndon Iliffe

Harold Nichols: Rhys Owen

Vicky Nochols: Jenefer Trapp

Jerry Luckowsky: Alex Wadham

Buddy ‘Keno’ Walsh / Multi-Role: Brad Walwyn

Director: Adam Lacey

Producer: Karl Steele

Musical Director: Jack Hopkins

Assistant Musical Director: Ian Stephenson

Choreographer / Head of Wardrobe: Pippa Lacey


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