The Full Monty shows at Norwich Theatre Royal from 26th November – 1st December, which marks the end of the first half of the show’s tour. For those of you who don’t know it, The Full Monty is about a group of men from Sheffield who struggle with unemployment when their steelworks shuts down, and eventually turn to stripping to have some fun and make a bit of cash. Concrete spoke to James Redmond (Hollyoaks, Casualty) who is making his theatre debut with the show, playing the part of Guy.
The first thing he was sure to tell me was how much fun he has been having with the show, learning new skills for acting in theatre and getting the chance to explore new cities along the way. One key difficulty he has found in comparison to television production is the live audience – without the opportunity for multiple takes, everything must be right the first time. But with 240 shows over the tour, things are always adapting and changing and there is a lot of scope for trying new ideas and making adjustments. Learning to dance has also been a challenge, but not one that Redmond has found unenjoyable, stating that he’s “always fancied trying it out” and always “gave it [his] all” through auditions and rehearsals.
Of course, with this show being The Full Monty, it was impossible to have a conversation without asking about the stripping. Redmond actually seemed pretty relaxed about the whole thing (as I suppose you’d have to be with 240 shows). After all, he’s ‘done the stripping part on telly, so he was more concerned about the new techniques and skills he has had to learn rather than the nudity. He told Concrete that overall, “it’s been great fun working with such a good group of people”, with whom he has had a chance to become good friends. Although it is a comedy, the show is also full of drama, romance and everything in between. It is a “great all round show” that seems to be genuinely enjoyed by the cast, some of whom have been touring with the show for several years!
The Full Monty is consistently getting rave reviews and great audience reactions, and “as a nervous actor, getting audience response is really relaxing”, Redmond says. According to the actor, “the script is really tight. Every line is funny or moving”, and audiences seems to really be picking up on that. There is laughter throughout, but this doesn’t distract from the drama and the deeper themes explored in the show. It’s simply “six guys talking about their wives and unemployment and all their problems”, Redmond says. This seems apt in the current climate of discussing men’s health, both physically and mentally, something The Full Monty deals with really well.