Review: The Full Monty – Mad Cow Productions

Oh my! It was one of the hottest tickets in town on what happened to be the hottest week of the year. A superb evening of songs – and of thongs!

Mad Cow Production’s amateur version of the Broadway hit The Full Monty certainly put the sizzle into sizzling at the Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury!

It had everything. Hot performances, hot lighting, hot music, hot choreography – and ‘hot’ men of all different shapes and sizes clad only in teeny, tiny, thongs! Phew – there was no holding back – it certainly was a ‘full monty’ production!

They say that fortune favours the bold and this was without doubt, the Shropshire theatrical herd’s best and most daring production to date – from the staging to the subject matter. And the public responded – sell-out shows in the main auditorium at Theatre Severn, and standing ovations. It’s sold out status meant that the Herd was gifted two professionals from London to help with the production – upcoming Lighting Designer Dan Saggers and Andy Hinton as Sound Designer (taking a one week break from a run at The Royal Court).

The musical version of The Full Monty is based on the British smash hit starring Robert Carlyle, only it is Americanized and based in small backwater town Buffalo. It follows the highs and mainly lows of six unemployed steelworkers who decide to present a strip act at their local club after seeing the reactions of their wives to a touring production of the Chippendales. There is, however, one massive difference – the Buffalo boys were going further – performing the full monty!

The show leads us through the twists and turns of emotions as best friends Jerry Lukowski (Mathew Robinson) and Dave Bukatinsky (Jez Mann) recruit to their act to earn a quick buck so that Jerry can continue to see his son. Their friendship is wonderfully portrayed – warm, funny and believable. The scenes as Jerry and Dave recruited to their ‘cause’ were the some of the best in the whole production – genuinely laugh-out-loud funny with some superb acting in various stages of undress!

The cast was perfectly cast – with polished performances from ‘the women’ including Heidi Brown as Georgie, Natalie Watts as Vicki and Anette Edge as Jeanette on a set that was worthy of a Broadway production.

This whole show is all about friendship and camaraderie, and I have a feeling that this sums up the Mad Cows in general – an amateur theatre company with very professional standards.

And to answer one burning question – director Alex Hinton has confirmed that ‘the brave six’ did what it said on the tin at the show’s finale – and whipped off the hats that were protecting their modesty. We, the audience, would never have known thanks to the very clever lighting that ‘flashed’ just at the right time!

So hats off to those that took their hats off!

Review by Claire Dunn