The award-winning Broadway musical, The Full Monty, returns to the South African stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary 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.
With our weak rand, travel, particularly international travel is a very costly pleasure. This is not so much because of the cost of the ticket, though a return trip to Cape Town in high season can cost over R4000 whereas a ticket on the same dates to Rome or Bangkok is around R7500. The bigger problem is once you are there, where are you going to stay as accommodation will cost a whole lot more? Because of this a lot of people are turning to groups like Queer Couchsurfers on Facebook, and they report that this is the way to travel. Where else can you find free places to stay when travelling around the world, or even at home in SA? You may even get a shag into the deal!
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