Review: The Full Monty by Harlow Theatre Company: You can keep your hat on…just bring a fan!

Entertainment / Thu 20th Jul 2023 at 12:29pm

AT the end of what was nearly three hours, the audience stood as one to give a rapturous round of applause to the cast.

For their efforts, the cast and crew deserved all the plaudits for working so hard to get the production on and perform so well.

This is the American stage show version, set in Buffalo, New York in the nineties.

Released as a low budget, British film, in 1997, it was set in the heart of Sheffield’s steel works, and highlighted the difficulties faced at a time of high unemployment.

It explored subjects that were taboo at the time: depression, homosexuality, empowerment of women, single parenting and more.

With twenty cast members in Theatre Two, it was a challenge to see them all in quite a small space for a big musical.

They did that successfully. And it is clearly an ethos of the Harlow Amateur Theatre Society (HATS) to give everyone a chance. However, that does appear to come at a price as this production was far too long. The interval came at 1 hr 45 mins into the show and the show finished three hours after it started.

Theatre 2 was stultifying warm and so did not make watching theatre a comfortable experience. That’s not HATS fault but it may be worth considering for the future.

The whole production was surrounded by audience members waving their programmes and drinking water.

However, maybe it was just this reviewer as for all the humidity, it didn’t prevent a standing ovation.

Although an ensemble piece, James Kenneth’s portrayal of Jerry Lukowski was very strong. In fact all the acting was, once again, very good.

James worked really well with Brad Boxall who played Dave. They were really honest performances.

Yes, there were no stand out performances but this was about team work. You will away get a very solid performance from Kevin Smith. Having said that, young Joshua Smith is turning out to be a very fine actor indeed.

Mitchell Walsh is so entertaining but he can go through a whole range of emotions in a short time.

The female cast was very strong. Helen Wach was stealing a lot of scenes in a Lucille Ball sort of way. Cara Bentley, Ella Brady and Joanna Hunter put in very strong performances that really supported the rest of the cast but stood out in their own right.

You also have to appreciate that nearly everyone is an all round actor. Singing, dancing, comedy, dramatic. That’s quite a range.

There were some singers that we would have liked to hear more of. Tony Khluball as Horse was a case in point even if the subject matter has not aged well.

Trouble is, it was a good script not a great script with some good tunes not great tunes.

Again, everyone played their part as an ensemble to support each other.

It was good to hear a live band. It was brave but also very successful.

There wasn’t a struggle for space but you did wonder if the production would have been better served on the main stage? Looking back, to do this justice, maybe return to this show at a future date. In fact, you do feel the cast of HATS deserve a full blown production on the main stage

Well done to HATS and especially all their creatives (see below). Michelle Fisher and her team must have put in a huge amount of work. Congratulations again.

The Full Monty runs until Saturday.


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1 Comment for Review: The Full Monty by Harlow Theatre Company: You can keep your hat on…just bring a fan!:

Danielle Brown
2023-07-20 19:02:03

It was a terrific performance and they did incredibly well not to let the heat effect them. I totally agree they deserve the main stage and I would definitely recommend going to watch the show! It was very funny and we thoroughly enjoyed the evening! As did everyone who gave a standing ovation! And yes we drank lots of water to keep cool! Great job HATS and well done everyone involved!!!

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