The award-winning Broadway musical, The Full Monty, returns to the South African stage in a vibrant 20thanniversary showcase in Cape Town, 10 to 25 November, at the GrandWest Casino, featuring an all-South African cast and produced by p2 Productions. The musical is adapted from the 1997 Academy Award-winning British film, known for its highly anticipated closing scene, of six out-of-shape, regular blokes going all the way at a local strip club. Nominated for ten Tony Awards, the critically acclaimed musical enjoyed a run of 770 shows on Broadway in 2000 before moving onto the West End in 2002.
Director Laura Bosman’s aim is to highlight the heart, humour and the humanity of the much-loved musical. “Although the show is about six men who go “all the way”, for me this is not the most important part of the story. At its core, The Full Monty deals with men’s issues which are often overlooked or ignored at the expense of more widely accepted women’s issues. We see how these men struggle with their body image, how they deal with the devastating emasculation caused by unemployment, and the lengths they will go to hide their fears and feelings of inadequacy.” According to Bosman, South African men have typically grown up with the idea that boys don’t cry, and she feels it’s time to dispel this thinking so that men can be heard and encouraged. “I think this musical celebrates this message in a fun, light-hearted way, despite the very real subject matter.”
The story follows the journey of six steel workers in 1980’s Sheffield who lose their jobs after the steel factory shuts down. With bills to pay and families to support, the men, hesitant at first, decide to go with the charismatic lead character’s brilliant idea of giving the ladies of Sheffield something the Chippendales don’t: ‘real’ men who will ‘go all the way’ for one night only. Matthew Roy, who makes his debut into musical theatre with this production, plays the lead character, Jerry Lukowski, and believes that this character puts the spotlight on issues many men are still facing today. “Jerry is having his entire worldview questioned. His concept of what it is to be a man is being challenged and his identity, being founded on that concept, is being challenged along with it. The country, the people and the economy are all changing around him and he feels that he is rapidly becoming obsolete, which scares him.”
While cheering the six men on throughout the show, the audience also gets a glimpse into other difficult issues these men are facing, such as divorce, depression and homosexuality. In the end, courage and bravery prevails as the ‘stripping-six’ find true strength and friendship in each other, while also being reassured by the love and support of the women in their lives.
The heart-felt narrative is bought to life with David Yazbek’s original pop-rock score, under the musical direction of Barend van der Westhuizen. “All the numbers are vocally demanding and pivotal in the telling of the story, so the lyrical content carries a lot of weight. I’m excited to be working with these talented performers in this musical genre, as pop-rock has a lighter, smoother approach that is reminiscent of commercial pop music, making musical theatre more accessible to audiences.”
Bosman defines the similarities between the movie and the show as one of the big draw cards for audiences. “If you loved the movie, then you’ll love the musical even more. The show’s humanity is interspersed with many moments of hilarity, so I think people will leave the theatre not only feeling more connected to those around them, but also with a belly aching from laughter. If nothing else, I know for sure that people are going to love the final scene, why wouldn’t they, it’s live!
Catch The Full Monty at the Roxy Revue Bar, GrandWest, from 10 to 25 November. Performances are Wednesdays to Saturdays at 7.30 pm. There is also a performance for ‘Ladies only’ to enjoy with their girlfriends on Sunday, 12 November.
Tickets are R130 each and can be booked at Quicket.co.za. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book for the Ladies only performance. The show contains some strong language and adult themes, and is not recommended for children 13 years of age or younger.
Follow The Full Monty Cape Town’s Facebook page for more info and updates: https://www.facebook.com/thefullmontyp2/