While the Calendar Girls are stripping off in Glasgow’s King’s Theatre this week, it’s the men who are getting their kit off just down the road at the Theatre Royal.

Simon Beaufoy’s story feels as relevant today, as the cost of living crisis squeezes, as it was in the days it was set – when Margaret Thatcher was dismantling industry, leaving thousands on the scrapheap.

At its heart, this story is about the lengths protagonist Gaz will go to to see his son. This sweet motivation leads Gaz and an assembled group of out of luck men to bare all for a bit of cash.

It’s hard not to be captured by this simple storyline, which often seeks its laughs at the expense of these unfortunate men – but it’s broadly done in good nature.

While highly-publicised Jake Quickenden doesn’t appear on this Tuesday evening performance, Oliver Joseph Brooks boldly takes the reins as Guy and does so without missing a beat.

There are no weak links in this small but mighty cast, but Neil Hurst brings buckets of humour as burly Dave – and the biggest laughs are reserved for Ben Onwukwe’s Horse, whose dance moves really are worth seeing!

Leaning on the irresistible soundtrack from the film, the Glasgow audience is whipped into a screaming frenzy as these lads get down to business. Everything from ‘You Sexy Thing’ to the climax performance of ‘Leave Your Hat On’ are hard to resist from shuffling in your seat.

The magic of theatre really does come into its own in the final scene as our unexpected heroes strip off. Against Jasmine Swan’s dingy set, dimly lit by Andrew Exeter, this full-pelt tinsel-curtain-dazzled finale is the perfect juxtaposition to the long and dingy preamble.

The Full Monty doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s a laugh a minute play that culminates in a feel good sequence whose cast deserve the final ovation they warmly receive from the Glasgow crowd.

Baring all takes real bravery – and at the heart of it, it’s this excellent cast that win over our hearts.

The theatre enforces a strict no-phone policy when in the auditorium, keeping the cast secure and ensuring there are no disruptions to proceedings.

The Full Monty at Theatre Royal, Glasgow until Saturday 24th February 2024, then touring

Photo credit: Ellie Kurttz