The Full Monty may well be back in the West End fairly soon but it will be a very different production to the one we’ve seen in London before. The Americanised musical version of the show was last in London in 2009 for a short run at the New Players Theatre. This time the show is described as “The Full Monty – the play” and it has been totally re-worked for the stage.
For this Sheffield Theatres production the original writer of the screen play Simon Beaufoy went back to the Sheffield setting of the film and has worked hard to re-imagine it as a play with music. The songs we all remember from the film are still there but this time it is primarily a piece of theatre. He has kept some of the set piece routines, including the dole queue scene. I heard him on Front Row on Radio 4 last night talking about the show and he said felt he had to keep that iconic moment from the film. The unemployed steel workers dole queue dance routine should work really well on stage so I can see why he’d want to retain it.
It is Beaufoy’s first time writing for the stage and he said that it had been much harder than he thought but he is happy with the result. It seems he is not alone as the play is already sold out in Sheffield and tour tickets are going well too. A West End transfer is on the cards, if the show can find a theatre. The tour ends in May so watch out for the show in the West End either over the summer or early autumn 2013. It is not a huge cast so it won’t need to go into one of the really large theatres.
The show is already a sell out in Sheffield and I think it will do well on tour. Whether it can last in the West End for longer than the previous production is another question. Neither American productions lasted very long. Despite the Broadway version having been voted best musical in 2002 when it ran in the West End, it closed after less than a year. I’d like to think the re-staged version could. It will appeal to a similar audience to Calender Girls and comes from the same producers. That show did very well for theatre breaks and lasted longer in the West End than some predicted. The disco music which remains at the core of The Full Monty is hard to resist and if they have managed to retain the power of the film’s strong narrative it should be an excellent show.
I can’t wait to see it! How about you?