The Full Monty review, Nov 2016 - Newbury Weekly News

Dazzled by the big reveal! Standing ovation for BATS bravery in taking on The Full Monty.

Wow - it's a while since I have had such a good time at the theatre.  BATS took on the challenge of this gritty, poignant and hilarious show with such aplomb.

Not one for your maiden aunt perhaps, with its fruity dialogue and subject matter (though I could be wrong, judging by the large female contingent in the audience) but with terrific cast and hugely appreciative audience - it was a night to remember.

The men performing the final strip number

The men performing the final strip number

Based on the 1997 British Film, in this musical version of the action is switched to Buffalo, US. It mirrors the film plot, with six out-of-work steelworkers deciding to form a strip act to make some money. As they rehearse for the show, they expose their fears, self-consciousness, and personal back-stories (among other things), but ultimately find strength in their camaraderie.

The actors playing the six main characters - Paul Morris (Jerry Lukowski), John Eddie (Dave Bukatinsky), Richard Bond (Harold Nichols), Ian Moseley (Malcolm MacGregor), Bryn Hughes (Ethan Girard) and Tim Bell (Noah 'Horse' T Simmons) are to be congratulated on their individual portrayals, all of which were simply excellent, and particularly their commitment to the routines, - anything less than 100% and it wouldn't have worked.

The female roles were equally excellent, notably Holly Reedman (Georgie Bukatinsky), Laura Newborough (Pam Lukowski), Kathy May-Miller (Jeanette Burmeister) and the powerhouse that was Sally Manning (Vicki Nichols). There were numerous smaller characters of both genders and a superb ensemble - all maintaining the highest standards.

With great vocals, routines and a tight band all under the expert control of musical director, Julie Dance, fantastic humour, an effective set (with loads of well-handled scene changes), and incredible lighting, it really was one of which director and choreographer, Martyn Knight must be congratulated - together with BATS for taking on the challenge.

The final 'full monty' was cleverly and skilfully handled, with the audience dazzled by the lights as the boys did the actual 'deed', all prompting a thoroughly well-deserved rapturous standing ovation.

This was BATS in tip-top form.

Trevor Dobson



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