Giving it the Full Monty on stage again while retaining its Yorkshire roots
00:21 GMT, 11 May 2012
The Full Monty, one of the most successful British movies ever made, has been turned into a stage play.
And unlike a previous adaptation of the story about a group of unemployed Sheffield steelworkers who become strippers and wind up ‘jiggin’ about in the buff’, the new theatrical enterprise will retain its South Yorkshire roots.
An earlier Americanised musical version, which was transposed to Buffalo in upstate New York, played on Broadway 12 years ago and had a short-lived run in the West End a couple of years later.
Stripped for action: The Full Monty film is to be adapted into a play
Daniel Evans, artistic director of Sheffield Theatres, revealed that the new stage production — a drama inspired by the film and featuring some of the music it used — will begin performances at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield next spring.
‘They moved the musical to Buffalo and you can imagine,’ Evans sniffed, ‘Buffalo is all well and good, but it’s not Sheffield.’
Simon Beaufoy, who won a Bafta for his screenplay of the 1997 movie (he also collected an Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire), was approached by Evans and top West End producers David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers to write the new stage production.
‘I’ve always thought it was a bit of unfinished business for me,’ Beaufoy explained when we chatted about how his film was turned into a Broadway musical without his involvement.
Writer Simon Beaufoy, far right, pictured with the cast of Slumdog Millionaire after he won a Golden Globe annual Golden Globe for the screenplay
‘I was always a bit sad they didn’t retain its Sheffield roots because it’s as much about Sheffield as it was about the people, so for me it’s brilliant it’s going to start its run in Sheffield.’
The film was set in 1986-87, but Beaufoy has moved the play’s time to 1990. ‘The whole feeling of disenfranchisement and lack of dignity if you don’t have a job is very current,’ he observed, although he noted that sexual politics and what he termed ‘body embarrassment’ have moved on a bit.
Robert Carlyle starred as the main character Gaz in the film Full Monty
Beaufoy and Evans said it was vital the piece was left in the Thatcher era, albeit at the tail end, so that parallels with today are more apparent: an unpopular government, businesses shutting down and the jobless struggling to find employment.
Evans told me that when he was appointed artistic chief at the Sheffield Theatres three years ago, bringing The Full Monty home, as it were, was one of the things he wanted to explore.
He sought advice from Pugh, who promptly set his long-time business partner Dafydd Rogers the task of untangling the complicated rights to The Full Monty.
Now, the Sheffield Theatres and the two London producers share control of rights to put on a play inspired by Beaufoy’s movie screenplay.
Pugh said some songs from the film such as Hot Chocolate’s You Sexy Thing and Donna Summer’s Hot Stuff, and possibly Tom Jones performing You Can Leave Your Hat On, are likely to be used in the new show, although other numbers by Right Said Fred and Marc Almond may be added.
Beaufoy recalled that in one of the drafts he wrote for the film he included tracks by the Bee Gees. ‘We could never afford them,’ he sighed, but said he would reinvestigate their availability and cost.
The play will be designed by Robert Jones, and Pugh said he has created a model of a set that’s a disused steelworks.
The producer added that a decision about a director would be settled soon and a workshop of the new Full Monty will be held in a few weeks.
Benedict Cumberbatch has completed his alien adventures in the Star Trek film and is mulling over what to do next.
On the box: Benedict Cumberbatch is returning to our TV screens as Sherlock dramas for another three series
But he and Martin Freeman are definitely shooting three more Sherlock dramas for Beryl Vertue’s Hartswood Films and the BBC from the beginning of next year.
It won the Best TV Drama award from Melvyn Bragg’s South Bank Sky Arts show.
Benedict will next be seen opposite Rebecca Hall in Tom Stoppard’s adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End, which Susanna White has directed for the BBC and HBO.
Watch out for…
Andrew Lloyd Webber, who will be honoured with a fellowship award by his peers in the music business.
Andrew Lloyd-Webber will be honoured with a fellowship award
Songwriter Leslie Bricusse will present the composer with the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors’ (BASCA’s) highest honour during next Thursday’s Ivor Novello Awards in London.
The Good Lord, who with Tim Rice has been nominated twice in this year’s Broadway Tony award race (for Michael Grandage’s Broadway production of Evita and Des McAnuff’s Shakespeare Festival production of Jesus Christ Superstar), is being celebrated for a songwriting career that spans four decades.
It’s recognition not just for his shows — Cats, Phantom, Aspects Of Love, Sunset Boulevard, Love Never Dies, Joseph — but for the numbers from those productions.
Some 125 million albums have been sold featuring Lloyd Webber’s music.
ALW’s next hit is likely to be Sing, a song that he and Gary Barlow have written to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Free sheet music and lyrics will be available to download next Friday (May 18) from stageamusical.com/news/sing Belinda Stewart-Wilson, who plays the mum of Will McKenzie (Simon Bird) on Channel 4’s hit The Inbetweeners.
She’ll be returning to the stage, with Craig Kelly and George Georgiou, in Chicken, about two dysfunctional friends, a wife and a rooster who share an apartment in the Bronx.
The play is by Mike Batistick and its London run will begin performances at Trafalgar Studio 2 on Whitehall from June 25.