The Full Monty

Date 25th April 2018
Society Diva Productions
Venue Theatre Royal, Wakefield
Type of Production Musical
Director Andrew Ashley
Musical Director Adam Boniface
Choreographer Kimberley Baker

Report

Author: Christine Castle

This production simply blew me away with it's artistry, talent and wit. When a musical is brilliantly directed, musically directed and choreographed, success is guaranteed. Add to the mix a company of actors and actresses, working as a team and cast correctly, you have a sure-fire winner!

The musical has had many years of success, for both professionals and amateurs. The story of unemployed steel workers trying to earn money by becoming male strippers and reinstating their masculinity doesn't seem to have dated over the years. There has always been the confusion of the location of the piece - the film centred on Sheffield steel-workers but when it was developed for a stage musical, it centred on Buffalo, an industrial steel-based town in the U.S.A. Why? Well, the American production team got there first and contractually, it has to remain set that way.

The Director, Andrew Ashley and Producers Andrew Ashley and Andy Fretwell, had brought together an amazingly talented cast; Dale Vaughan played the lead, Jerry Lukowski with assured confidence, equally with James Sedgwick as Dave Buckatinsky, his (larger than life) best friend. Their rapport on stage was of professional standards. Danny Ryan Smith was a convincing and thoughful Malcolm - only a trained dancer can make bad dancing convincing! Scott Worsfold, (Harold), Reggie Challenger (Horse), Joseph Mitchell (Ethan) completed the stripping line-up, all completely believable in their roles. On the night I attended, Connor White played Jerry's son, Nathan with youthful talent and I am certain that the alternative Nathan, George North, would  equally be as good. The girls in the show should have equal credit given in excellence - Charlotte Spowage as Georgie, Anna Potton (Vicki), Hayley Harris (Pam), Sarah Duce (Estelle), Rea Lawrenson (Susan) - and a spirited Wendy Chable as the old-time piano player, Jeanette. I have to make a special mention of Daniel Austwick as the 'real' stripper, Kenzo - certainly eye candy for the enthusiastic, mainly female, audience! They were all joined by other principals who all gave energetic and polished performances.

Music and vocals were in the very experienced hands of Adam Boniface, who with nine in the orchestra, provided excellent accompaniment - the sound balance was superb - I heard every singer clearly and it's not often you can say that! Kimberley Baker had worked hard on the cast who were foot-perfect - and she had provided stunning routines, particularly in the 'Michael Jordan's Ball' sequence.

Andrew, the Director, was credited for video content which was slick and added interest to the scenes - this is becoming a popular method of changing scenes and here, used to full advantage. The creative team were again, of the highest standard, under the wing of the Stage Manager, Becky Firth - brilliant set, lighting design and sound. I congratulate Julie Kidd (Costume) for well-conceived costumes - particularly, dare I say , the smashing underwear worn by the ladies at one point - matching the men's interesting character underwear!

It seems I have run out of superlatives - I have seen 'The Full Monty' many times and I can honestly say, this production is the best on all fronts and exactly what audiences love and deserve.

My sincere congratulations to you all!