The Full Monty review, Nov 2016 - Basingstoke Gazette

Director and choreographer Martyn Knight returns to The Haymarket this month after his award-winning BATS production of Sister Act.

He and his team, including musical director Julie Dance, now have something new for Basingstoke audiences, namely their 1980s-set version of the amateur stage treatment of the 1997 film The Full Monty, the hugely popular tale of a group of Sheffield blokes who reclaim some of their lost power and dignity by, ironically, getting their kit off. 

Its message remains pertinent, and its combination of politics and comedy may prove a welcome tonic for many after the roller coaster of the year so far. 

 The men performing the opening number, 'Scrap'

The men performing the opening number, 'Scrap'

 The girls performing 'It's a Woman's World'

The girls performing 'It's a Woman's World'

Kathy May-Miller is also terrific as the characterful piano player who supports the men through their dreadful early rehearsals. 

Martyn, in addition to the rest of his good work, cleverly uses his supporting cast to become the whooping audience at certain points.  

His show is obviously one for the adults due to the language and nudity (bare bottoms) but those appropriate audiences who do attend will surely find their spirits lifted by its cheeky charm!

Joanne Mace

The action takes place in the US, but retains the core message. And where the original made great use of pop songs such as You Can Leave Your Hat On, this treatment boasts all-new numbers by David Yazbek and Terrence McNally.

It’s hats off to the brave local amateur actors who dare to bare (their blushes spared at the key moment by clever lighting design) on stage for our entertainment: Paul Morris, John Eddie, Richard Bond, Ian Moseley, Bryn Hughes and Tim Bell.    

Some are unconventional leading men, but all are fully deserving of the spotlight, communicating the frustrations of these individuals (frustrations sometimes expressed through their language) and winning over those watching in both the comic and the more serious scenes. 

Gavin Brooker also deserves a mention for his bravery in the role of the performer who originally inspires the men and whose stripping routine opens the whole shebang. 

But the boys don’t have it all their own way throughout, as the show includes some lovely moments for the girls to shine; Holly Reedman, Sally Manning and Laura Newborough are brilliantly effective as the present and former spouses trying to support their men in crisis.

The Full Monty review, Nov 2016 - NODA

The Full Monty is the Americanised version of the hugely successful film of the same name.  BATS have chosen the Broadway version of the show where the action moves from Sheffield to Buffalo, New York.  It tells the story of six struggling steelworkers.  In order to make ends meet they decide to learn to dance and strip i.e. to do The Full Monty – i.e. everything off!

The set: street scenes, interiors were effectively created and of high quality and cleverly designed. The “Gents” toilets at the club was ingenious.   There was minimal disruption during the scene changes.  Great and convincing use of props.  

The costumes were excellent, with great attention to detail and were in keeping with the characters and story.   And this wasn’t just the strippers’ costumes – much thought had gone into the costumes for the women, showing their sassy side – many items being tight and bright!

The lighting was superb: rising and dimming when necessary, and the blinding flash of backlight at the pivotal moment was perfectly timed.    Most of the sound was excellent with voices clear and blended well with the live music.  My companion and I both felt that the screaming of the excited women (at the prospect of a stirp show) at the opening of the show was at an uncomfortable level and pitch. 

Director and Choreographer Martyn Knight demonstrated his experience and talent as he drew great performances from the entire cast. This was a great example of ensemble performance.  The six strippers, led by Paul Morris as Jerry, brought great warmth to their characters as men who found friendship and self-respect through the group.  Kathy May-Miller was simply stunning as Jeannette, the chain-smoking piano player drafted in to accompany the strippers.  Gavin Brooker deserves special praise having the difficult job of opening the show with a strip – a challenge he rose to with seeming ease.     The music, under the direction of Julie Dance , created a solid sound giving the cast superb lead.  The show worked well due to the charisma of the leading men with a terrific ensemble supporting  them.  There were no weak links in this show that had was more to it than stripping men and screaming women: depression, fathers’ rights, homosexuality, unemployment and suicide – all covered with toe tapping songs and dances to the obvious delight of the audience. 

Chris Horton, District 14 Regional Representative

 

 

The Full Monty Review, Nov 2014 - The Daily Echo

Originally set in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, the tale of six redundant steelworkers combining to perform a striptease- routine was a blockbuster film and this musical version, relocated to Buffalo, Western New York, proves equally popular.

Paul Morris as Jerry Lukowski and John Eddie as Dave Bukatinsky provide the lions-share of the action.

Holly Reedman and Laura Newborough feature strongly as their wives and the rest of the guys, Richard Bond (Harold), Ian Moseley (Malcolm), Bryn Hughes (Ethan) and Tim Bill (Horse) all have their moments.

Kathy May- Miller has a ball as fading pianist Jeanette and it was a pleasure to again see Sally Manning (as Vicki).

The (predominantly female) audience loved every minute of a good- looking production.

Alan Johns

 

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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